Minerva Garcia, who took sanctuary in a North Carolina church, is free

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Minerva Garcia helped her son, Eduardo, set up his guitar earlier this year before taking sanctuary. (file photo)

Minerva Cisneros Garcia, an undocumented woman from Mexico who took sanctuary in a Greensboro church to avoid deportation, is free today.

Garcia has been staying at Congregational United Church of Christ in Greensboro with her two youngest sons, Antonio and Mateo, since June 28.

“We are so grateful to God and to everyone who helped Minerva,” said the Rev. Julie Peeples, the pastor at Congregational United Church of Christ, in a prepared statement. “I am proud of our church and friends, proud of the people in Winston-Salem and Greensboro who first became involved with Minerva and her family. We remain in awe of Minerva and her courage. We send them home with our love.”

Garcia learned through her lawyer that a federal immigration lawyer in Texas vacated her deportation order, according to a press release from Congregational United Church of Christ.

Garcia came to the United States from the Mexican state of Guerrero in the 1990s so that her oldest son, Eduardo, who is blind, could access services. At the time Garcia brought her family to the United States, Eduardo was 5 years old, and she said emigrating legally would have been too expensive and too time consuming considering her son’s eminent needs. Garcia’s youngest sons were born in the United States, but she is separated from their father. Garcia lived in Winston-Salem and worked in a warehouse as a machine operator and forklift driver for 11 years, eventually advancing to team leader.

Garcia has said it’s not safe to take her family to Guerrero because of a climate of violence created by drug cartels.

Garcia was the second undocumented person to take sanctuary in North Carolina since President Trump ordered federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, to adopt a more aggressive removal policy. Juana Luz Tobar Ortega, who came to North Carolina from Guatemala in the 1990s, has been in sanctuary at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Greensboro since May 31. José Chicas, a Raleigh pastor originally from El Salvador, took sanctuary in the School of Conversion in Durham in early July.