Sanctuary Churches

Frank, Helen and Minerva on stage at the Triad Stage.
Dana Terry/WUNC

One of the first undocumented immigrants to seek sanctuary in a North Carolina church has been granted permanent residency.

‘Santuario’ Film Documents A Life In Limbo

Apr 4, 2019
Pilar Timpane

Juana Luz Tobar Ortega took sanctuary in a Greensboro church two years ago to avoid deportation back to Guatemala. She and her family hoped taking refuge there would be a short-term step. A documentary film captured her early weeks spent living in the church and stayed with her as the weeks turned to months. The film shows Juana as she tries to keep busy and stay positive, all the while showing the pain and sadness she and her family feel at living apart. 

Juana Luz Tobar Ortega stands outside St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Greensboro, where she is living in sanctuary.
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Nearly 100 documentary films from around the world will be shown this week and weekend in downtown Durham. It’s the 22nd annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, with this edition highlighting the stories of laid off autoworkers, the last male northern white rhino and musical greats like Miles Davis. But there are a small group of documentaries I have especially been waiting for.

a photo of a cat and dog in front of a Christmas tree dressed in holiday clothing.
@RamboThePuppy

 “The State of Things” started 2018 with two new producers who brought an array of perspectives and talent to the show. One of them was Dana Terry: an entertainment industry veteran with years of experience producing for drivetime radio shows. This is her first foray into public radio, and she brought with her a number of entertainment industry contacts.

 

Protestors surround a car
Alerta Migratoria NC

A man who was seeking sanctuary in a church in Durham was tackled and detained by  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents at a routine immigration appointment last week. Samuel Oliver-Bruno arrived at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office in Morrisville, North Carolina when plainclothes ICE agents got to him. 

Juana Luz Tobar Ortega stands outside St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Greensboro, where she is living in sanctuary.
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Since Donald Trump took office, the number of non-criminal undocumented immigrants detained and arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has spiked. That has pushed some to seek sanctuary in churches, where ICE says its policy is to avoid enforcement in so-called “sensitive locations.”

Amanda Magnus

When Juana Ortega walked into St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Greensboro last Spring, she was seeking sanctuary from deportation. But she may have also inspired a movement.