Salt Lake church shields Utah mom from deportation

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah mother of two who is facing deportation was about to board a plane to her native Honduras when she changed her mind and went to a church instead.

Vicky Chavez was on her way to the airport Tuesday night with her daughters, a 6-year-old and 4-month-old. She realized her home country was too dangerous for the little girls and instead moved into First Unitarian Church in downtown Salt Lake City, said Assistant Minister Monica Dobbins.

“She’ll be in the safest place that she can be,” Rev. Dobbins said. “We’re supporting her through an incredibly difficult time.”

The last-minute decision made Rev. Dobbins’ church the first in Utah to offer sanctuary to someone seeking to avoid deportation, she said. The 30-year-old mother was seeking asylum but was outpaced by her deportation case, Rev Dobbins said.

Inside the church, ministers and volunteers modified an area to create a makeshift apartment for the LDS family.

“It’s hard to live a normal life when you’re in a building that you can’t leave,” she said, but church leaders and members of the congregation were trying to make the space as normal as possible, with books, games and cozy surroundings.

Federal immigration officials have directed officers to avoid making arrests at places of worship under a “sensitive locations” policy that also pertains to schools, hospitals, rallies and weddings, among other places.

Chavez declined through a spokeswoman to speak with reporters Wednesday, but said in a statement she was fleeing upheaval in Honduras and violence in her home when she came to the U.S. in 2014.

She “has exhausted her appeals through the immigration courts,” the U.S. Customs and Enforcement Agency said in a statement Wednesday.

The federal Board of Immigration Appeals rejected Chavez’s request for a stay of deportation on Tuesday, and she was removed from an alternative-to-detention program the next day, the agency said.

The First Unitarian congregation in a recent vote approved providing sanctuary in such cases, Rev. Dobbins said, noting that other places of worship around the country also were providing sanctuary to immigrants seeking to avoid deportation.

“This is a faith issue,” she said, noting that Chavez’s looming return to Honduras would be difficult and dangerous. “We’re considering this civil disobedience to an unjust law.”

Kristin Knippenburg of Red de Solidaridad, one of the groups rallying around Chavez, agreed.

“ICE assumes that when they order these families to leave, they will do so just as quietly, just as anonymously, and we’re ensuring that isn’t the case,” Knippenburg said in a statement.

As the family settles into its temporary home, activists were seeking to reopen an asylum case for the family, said Amy Dominguez, of Unidad Inmigrante.

Under the direction of President Donald Trump, ICE has ramped up immigration enforcement, including in Utah, where high-profile cases have included parents ordered to return to Mexico and South America.


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What You Likely Did Not Know About Salt Lake Utah

Once known as the Great Salt Lake, this area has a long natural history that most do not think too much about. In just a few years the region can look very different from what it had due to droughts and the constantly changing landscape. In August of 2003 the area was vastly different from what it was five years earlier due to a drought.

While the natives were aware that there was a major change, it took seeing a satelite image to really absorb just how different it was. The image showed the difference in coloring of the lake from the norther and southern sections. These differences were primarily due to a railroad causeway built long ago, and before the water levels receded they were not noticeable to the naked eye standing at ground level.

This lake was once part of the much larger Lake Bonneville that once took up most of western Utah. That was during prehistoric times, even when dinosaurs roamed. It is now refereed to as a pluvial lake, which means that it was a basin surrounded by land that filled with rainwater over hundreds of years. This usually occurs when glaciers are developing and rain amounts are far greater than normal.

It is believed that Lake Bonneville was present in the area untill just under 20,000 years ago. Some of the lake drained through a breech near what is now known as Red Rock Pass. After the glacial period ended the remaining water from Bonneville evaporated, leaving what is now known as Salt Lake behind. It is the largest of the four major lakes that remain. The other three are Utah Lake, Rush Lake and Sevier Lake. The three largest rivers that flow into the lake are Bear, Weber and the Jordan River.

Native Americans knew well of this lake for thousands of years. It wasn’t put into written history until Escalante recorded its existance after hearing of it from natives. It was finally mapped in 1824 by a cartographer by the name of Pacheco. Finally, it was settled by Mormons looking for a fresh start free of discrimination.

Salt Lake Utah has a natural beauty that has drawn millions to its banks. Its originality in being the only inland lake that has salt water fascinates adults and children alike. The full history will never be known but that will not end the curiosity.

Salt Lake Utah: Information You Need

When you think about great places in the United States of America, Salt Lake Utah is an amazing area for so many different reasons. The area is a popular destination and is quite interesting to say the least. The lake is landlocked, yet it contains salty water. Not only that, but it is also the Western Hemisphere’s largest lake containing saltwater and is the largest lake contained between the Pacific Ocean the Great Lakes. The lake is fed off of a trio of tributaries. The Bear River, Weber River, and the Jordan River all work together to deposit the salt into the lake, which is roughly one million tons each year. Also known as The Great Salt Lake, the lake is what is what remains after a much larger body of water, Lake Bonneville. Lake Bonneville at one time covered almost all of western Utah. Since the lake has a long history, there are many legends about the lake and they are all quite intriguing. Today, however, it is a great place that so many people like to visit.

Visited from Antelope Island, the lake is visited quite often and is popular for its beautiful, white sandy beaches. Also, the lake’s salinity is much higher than the ocean at around 12 percent. This means that those who swim in the water can easily float. The lake is also popular for sailing and has a nice marina. Many people enjoy kayaking on the water, too. This is a great way for you to see some of the areas of the lake and Antelope Island that would otherwise be hidden. There are other reasons, too, that the lake is so great to visit, and the island is a nice place to spend some time. Whether you have a day, a week, or longer, there is much to do for those who enjoy a beautiful landscape, an interesting body of water, and spending time in nature.

As you can see, there are many reasons to visit Salt Lake Utah and there are many reasons that the lake is such an interesting place. If you are looking for a great place to visit, you should add this one to your list. If you just want to learn more about a unique body of water, don’t hesitate to learn all you can about the lake. It is interesting, unique, and fun.

Why You Should Live In Salt Lake, Utah

Are you trying to find a city in Utah to call home? If you are, you should strongly consider moving to Salt Lake City. This metropolitan area has a lot to offer.

There Are Plenty Of Jobs

If you are going to move to a new area, you will want to make sure that the area has a strong job outlook. That is something that you will be able to find in Salt Lake City. A number of Utah businesses have their headquarters here.

Whether you work in the medical industry or are searching for a position in IT, you should be able to find a job in Salt Lake. The job market here is fairly strong, and it is only going to keep growing in the future.

It’s Beautiful

When you live in Salt Lake City, you will have the chance to enjoy the city’s namesake. Salt Lake is the remnant of a prehistoric lake. Experts believe that this lake once covered a large portion of Utah.

The city itself is very well maintained. In addition to the lake, there are a number of lovely parks in the area. When you walk around Salt Lake, you will have a lot to see and enjoy. There is also a lot of entertainment in this area! Local events are held all the time.

It’s Affordable

Cost of living is a major consideration for most people that are looking for a new home. Thankfully, it isn’t particularly expensive to live in Salt Lake. While it is more expensive than rural Utah towns, you can still rent or buy here without having to spend a lot.

In addition, life in the city isn’t all that expensive. You’ll be able to find affordable groceries, and your utility costs shouldn’t be that high. You shouldn’t assume that you can’t afford to live in a place like Salt Lake. There is a very good chance that this town is more affordable than you think. You can live here even if you are on a fairly tight budget.

If you’ve been trying to find the right Utah community for you, you should definitely be taking a closer look at Salt Lake. This is a city that many people are moving to, and it is easy to see what draws them there. There is a lot of recommend Salt Lake, and it is a wonderful place to call home.