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Virginia church gives sanctuary to woman facing deportation

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — A church in Virginia has provided sanctuary for a Guatemalan woman who’s facing deportation.

Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in Charlottesville has agreed to help protect Maria Chavalan Sut from deportation by allowing her to live in the church. Immigration and Custom Enforcement officials have said they generally avoid entering sensitive locations such as places of worship.

Her lawyer said during a news conference Monday that she sought asylum in the U.S. after her house in Guatemala was set on fire with her family inside.

ICE released her after a border interview but her lawyer says a notice to appear in court didn’t include a date or time. Due to her court absence, she was ordered to leave the U.S.

A motion to reopen her case is pending.

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