Arturo Hernandez Garcia, Immigrant in Sanctuary in Denver, Joins in 3-Day Fast

Today is the final day of a three-day fast and vigil in front of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) headquarters in Washington, D.C. to call attention to what advocates — including a group from Colorado — say are unjustified deportations. Arturo Hernandez Garcia, an immigrant living in sanctuary in a Denver church, is a perfect example, they say: He's a hardworking father of two girls, one of whom is an American citizen, who meets the qualifications for "prosecutorial discretion," meaning that federal officials could decide to close his deportation case and allow him to stay here.

But federal immigration officials in Colorado haven't done that. Instead, they have continually denied Hernandez Garcia's requests for a "stay of removal."

He hasn't given up, however. He and his wife Ana are participating in the fast from Colorado. Hernandez Garcia can't leave the First Unitarian Society of Denver, where he's taken sanctuary. For nearly eight months, he's been living in a room in the basement while continuing to fight against his deportation. He and Ana will join in a ritual to break the fast tonight at 7 p.m. at the church.

"They don’t want to use the discretion for me and thousands of families," Hernandez Garcia says. For him, he adds, the fast is as much about spirituality as it as about protest. "We are connecting with other people around the country that are fasting, too."

Below, watch two videos — one about the fast and another about Hernandez Garcia's life in sanctuary.

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar

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