Utah mother, originally from Honduras, now calls First Unitarian Church 'home'

Utah mother, originally from Honduras, now calls First Unitarian Church 'home' (Photo: Bronagh Tumulty / KUTV)

(KUTV)- Vicky Chavez, originally from Honduras, now calls the First Unitarian Church in Salt Lake City her "home".

Chavez was supposed to get on a plane to her home country, just over a week ago. But, right before her flight took off, she changed her mind. Instead, she claimed sanctuary – all to protect her 2 daughters.

One of her daughters is 6-years-old and is a Honduran citizen. The other is 6-months-old and is an American citizen.

Her eldest daughter has a tutor who comes regularly to the church to teach her. Her assignments are still being sent to the church from the school, so Chavez’s daughter isn’t missing out on her education.

Chavez fled Honduras back in 2014 after receiving death threats from the father of her eldest daughter.

With no family members left there to turn to for help, she came to America, seeking asylum. Many of her relatives, including her parents, live in the U.S. Chavez was placed in an ICE facility for a few days before then being placed into her parents’ custody. Her asylum application thus far has cost her and her family around $15,000 – and she has never received a decision on it.

Technically ICE can still go into the church – with a warrant – and remove her. However, churches, schools, hospitals are generally regarded as “safe spaces”. Chavez says she will live in the church as long as she can, to keep her daughters safe. She also tells 2 News she is extremely grateful for the members of the church and volunteers like those from Unidad Imigrante, who have been working around the clock to make sure she and her children are safe and comfortable.

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