Family in Philadelphia church for sanctuary can stay in US

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- One and a half years after Suyapa Reyes and her four children entered a Philadelphia church for sanctuary, she will soon be able to leave without worry of deportation.

Reyes is a single mother originally from Honduras.

In 2018, Reyes sought sanctuary at First United Methodist Church of Germantown with help from the New Sanctuary Movement.

Reyes entered sanctuary at the church on the same day as another family, originally from Jamaica. Clive and Oneita Thompson remain at the church.

After Reyes lost her asylum case back in 2018, she said Immigration and Customs Enforcement started biweekly check-ins with her family and threatened to separate her from her children.

Reyes said she came to the United States in 2014 with her two daughters to escape violence in Honduras. She then had two more children, who are US citizens.

Philadelphia and its sanctuary policies have been a national topic of debate.

Reyes told Action News that she's happy because, after 554 days in sanctuary, she now has freedom and has waited for this moment for a long time.

The New Sanctuary Movement and her family is planning a "Walk to Freedom." It's scheduled for Thursday, March 12 at 5 p.m.

Reyes, her family, and supporters will walk to another nearby church to visit with another family in sanctuary
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