Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission in Little Village Provides Sanctuary to Mother of Two
Chicago, IL: Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission formally declares that the church is providing sanctuary to Beatriz Santiago Ramirez and her two children, Donato Bryan Castillo, who is about to turn 3 next week, and 7 month old Iran Castillo. Donato and his sister are both U.S. Citizens. Their mother is a single parent who has been in deportation proceedings since 2010.
Beatriz, who resides in Southern Illinois, came to Chicago in August to request a meeting with Fr. Jose Landaverde and to ask for help and sanctuary because the likelihood of her deportation was looming ever closer. Beatriz’ case is complex, though in terms of humanitarian response and the Gospel that guides the faith of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission community, the only way to respond to her request is with compassion and care for her well-being.
What makes Beatriz’ situation complex is that she was the victim of an aggravated criminal sexual assault in 2009. She cooperated fully with the investigation and testified against her attacker, leading to his conviction in 2011, and should be eligible to apply for a U Visa. Due to the Madison County State’s Attorney Office’s unreasonable refusal to sign a form affirming that Beatriz was a crime victim and that she cooperated with the investigation, she has been unable to successfully apply for a U Visa solely based on the technicality of a public official being unwilling to certify in writing what they know to be true.
We call on the Madison County State’s Attorney Office to reconsider the request to sign the I-918B form certifying that Beatriz was cooperative in the investigation and testified against her attacker so she may proceed in her application for a U Visa. We also call on ICE to exercise Prosecutorial Discretion for Beatriz, who has so far done everything possible to attempt to resolve her case through the established system and has been placed in an impossible situation due to a technicality of a signature on a form that she has been unable to obtain.
Fr. Jose Landaverde, Deacon Kim Ziyavo, and the community of Our Lady of Guadalupe call on the greater Chicago community for support as the Mission continues to provide sanctuary for Beatriz. “We invite the community to help us organize prayer vigils as well as a round the clock presence of solidarity here at the Mission,” said Fr. Landaverde. Donations, especially in cash or gift cards for grocery stores, Walgreens and Target would be most welcome in order to purchase fresh food and other basic necessities for Beatriz and the children. Contact Deacon Kim Ziyavo 773-410-4625 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information about donating or showing your solidarity.
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