A new life opportunity for Angela Navarro
“For now I can only imagine my new life, but I know is going to be different. I am very thankful for all the people that supported me,” said Honduran immigrant Angela Navarro, who after 58 days in sanctuary, won her deportation case on Jan. 14.
“It was completely unexpected. I was cleaning the kitchen when I learned Nicole Kligerman, of New Sanctuary Movement (NSM), was coming over,” Navarro said. “When she told me the news all I could do was cry, but from happiness.”
With the support of NSM, Navarro entered into sanctuary on Nov. 18 at West Kensington Ministry, vowing not to leave the church until her case was resolved. The family left everything to move into a small room inside the church, located in Norris Square.
She left Honduras in 2003 to join her family in the United States when she was 16 years old and pregnant with her first child. Although her family received permission to live in the country through Temporary Protected Status (TPS), Navarro was not able to apply for status, and instead, agreed to take voluntary departure that in time turned into a formal deportation.
Back in November Navarro, mother of two U.S. citizen children, became the first undocumented immigrant in the East Coast to enter sanctuary, following the footsteps of eight other immigrants in cities like Chicago, Denver, Phoenix and Tucson, who have sought refuge in a church.
“We will have to wait. We are here to wait as long as is necessary. Being locked in is better than living in fear. This is not as bad,” Navarro said to AL DÍA last November.
This week her lawyer received a phone call from the Office of Immigration and Custom Enforcement, which informed her that Angela was granted a stay of removal for two years. “This means her deportation order is stopped, which means she is not deportable unless she commits a crime. She will get a temporary social security card, work authorizations and eventually a green card. This is a critical first step without which nothing would be possible,” Kligerman said.
Navarro will leave sanctuary at West Kensignton Ministry, located 2140 N. Hancock St., in a public ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 17 at 11 a.m. She feels extremely humbled and thankful for this new opportunity, but said there still much work to do for others.
“I want to keep fighting for all the other people that are facing deportation. I also want to support the campaign of driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants,” Navarro said. “I know is not easy but we need to keep fighting. Si se puede!”
Kligerman said they were surprised by how fast the case was resolved. “This is a victory for community organizing hand in hand with legal strategies, her lawyer was also very amazing. We mobilized hundreds of people to support Angela, we received over 6,000 signatures and 200 letters from clergy from the Philadelphia area. We were preparing for Angela to be in sanctuary for much longer,”
Among the elected officials that showed their support for Navarro’s case are Congressman Bob Brady, Senator Christine Tartaglione, as well as the support from 11 City Council members through an effort spearheaded by Councilwoman María Quiñones-Sánchez.