A church where one of our alumna serves has become the first sanctuary congregation in Utah, taking in a mother who was ordered to return to her home country.
Vicky Chavez was scheduled to take a plane to Honduras during the night the 45th President delivered his first State of the Union. A few hours before she was scheduled to depart, it was announced she would be taking sanctuary at First Unitarian Church in Salt Lake City in hopes immigration enforcement will not pursue her there. Since she fled domestic violence and civil unrest in Honduras in 2014, Chavez has been trying to get asylum in the United States. "Coming to the United States meant safety from a man who suggested that he knows people who could harm my family," Chavez says. She had been checking in with ICE but was told recently that she had to leave the country.
Rev. Monica Dobbins, MDiv '17, spoke at the press conference:
"I'm the Reverend Monica Dobbins, the Assistant Minister of the First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City.
"Since 1963 the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations has publicly supported the rights of immigrants to the United States. At its General Assembly in 2007, the associated congregations adopted an action of Immediate Witness supporting immigrant families, which called for an immediate moratorium of all Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids and resulting deportations. The action further urges Unitarian Universalist congregations and their members to create a dialogue with the local business community, politicians—and if possible, minority coalitions—to create alternative actions for fair and legal deportations and urges all Unitarian Universalist congregations and their members to offer support and solidarity with the millions of immigrants seeking recognition and dignity in the United States.
"First Unitarian Church is among dozens of Unitarian Universalist congregations across the United States who have declared themselves Sanctuary Congregations. We are proud to be the first in Utah. In solidarity with international immigrants and in conjunction with a new sanctuary movement, we affirm the right of human beings to migrate, and we celebrate the diversity with which immigrants enrich our nation. We are proud to support the life of this family and to welcome them into our family. Bienvenidos!"