On Sunday, December 10, 2017, Samuel Oliver-Bruno entered protective sanctuary at CityWell United Methodist Church in Durham. Samuel is the fifth undocumented immigrant to enter sanctuary in North Carolina. “Receiving Samuel into sanctuary at CityWell has everything to do with our wanting to receive the ways of Jesus as our way of life,” explains Pastor Cleve May, minister at CityWell. “This is a way that we can stand up to prevent the destruction of an innocent family, and call our country to create just immigration laws.”
DURHAM, NC — On Sunday, December 10, 2017, Samuel Oliver-Bruno entered protective sanctuary at CityWell UMC in Durham. Samuel is the fifth undocumented immigrant to enter sanctuary in North Carolina.
Samuel is a hardworking father and loving husband, whose only crime has been protecting his family at any cost. Samuel was detained by Border Patrol at the Mexico-U.S. border in 2014, as he attempted to enter the country to reunite with his family. At the time, his wife was undergoing life-threatening open-heart surgery due to her severe medical conditions. Samuel was federally prosecuted, and later released on a Stay of Removal after medical records provided to immigration authorities showed the magnitude of his wife’s condition.
Samuel’s wife has various chronic illnesses, including and not limited to Lupus, that require costly daily medication and frequent medical check-ups. In Mexico, multiple medical teams told Samuel’s wife that she was fine and simply needed rest, despite the family’s concerns. However, once in the U.S., medical teams were surprised his wife was still alive, given the medical treatment Mexican providers refused to provide, and immediately proceeded with surgery. Since being released to be with his family, Samuel has worked tirelessly to ensure his wife has the best treatment for her chronic conditions. If Samuel is deported and cannot financially sustain these treatments for his wife, medical providers maintain his wife will die.
Samuel has provided for his US-citizen son, Daniel, financially and emotionally since birth. Daniel is a gifted student and athlete, currently a senior in J.H. Rose High School in Greenville, NC. Presently, Mr. Oliver-Bruno is the primary breadwinner of his family.
In addition to tearing him away from his dependent family, Mr. Oliver-Bruno faces grave threats if deported to Mexico.
According to the Pew Research Council there are presently more than 8 million undocumented adults working in the U.S. They compose 15% of our construction industry and 25% of our agricultural workers. Most have lived in the U.S. longer than a decade. The sudden deportation of these individuals uproots their lives and senselessly destroys their families as well.
“Receiving Samuel into sanctuary at CityWell has everything to do with our wanting to receive the ways of Jesus as our way of life,” explains Cleve May, pastor at CityWell. “This is a way that we can stand up to prevent the destruction of an innocent family, and call our country to create just immigration laws. Samuel’s case is a perfect illustration of how broken our immigration system is, and how when that broken system is aggressively enforced it breaks apart families. This is a basic moral issue, and a central issue in our faith. Samuel is a good man, a faithful husband, a loving father, a hard worker, and a contributor to his community and our society. His family needs him here, and I believe we all do as well. Our hope and prayer is that through the time afforded by sanctuary, a way will be found for him to stay here in North Carolina with his family, his church, and his community.”
Mr. Oliver-Bruno’s family and supporters request that ICE stay his deportation, and continue granting him deferrals until the government creates a way for him to obtain legal status.