Tucson residents start campaign in support of woman who took sanctuary in church

Supporters of a Mexican undocumented immigrant living in a church are starting a campaign to end her deportation case. Rosa Robles Loreto, 41, has lived inside Southside Presbyterian Church for the past 6 months to avoid a deportation order against her.


Hundreds of Tucson, Ariz. residents came together Wednesday in front of a local church where Rosa Robles Loreto, who is undocumented, has been taking sanctuary for six months now.

Her supporters said the protest was the start of a publicity campaign aimed at getting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to drop the order of deportation against her.

“We stand with Rosa!” they chanted repeatedly, flooding the Southside Presbyterian Church.

The mother of two was originally detained in 2010 after a routine traffic stop revealed she was in the country illegally. She moved into the church in August 2014, after receiving an order of deportation.

Even when Robles’ has been deemed a ‘low-priority’ case, it remains open and she is still at risk of deportation, according to her legal team.

The church that took her in is spreading the word to get her out, giving supporters over 500 signs to post around the community.

“We will not rest until everyone knows who Rosa Robles is,” said Robles’ attorney Margo Cowan.

Robles said she was hopeful her case would be revisited when President Obama announced his executive action in November, despite not qualifying for relief. Several months later there has been no change, but she still remains hopeful.

“I say ‘oh my God, I should just finish this’. But it gives me great strength to think that I’ve done all this fighting and that I might be able to close my case and leave,” Robles told Fox News Latino in Spanish.  

Robles, 41, said she came to the U.S. in 1999 to give her kids a better life. They were born in Mexico, but qualify for relief under the executive action.

Robles Loreto admits she did break the law by entering the country illegally, but thinks those with families and clean records should be spared from deportation.

“I look at the faces of my sons, and I think the President would also fight for the dreams of his children. I’m a housewife. I’m the mother of a family. They have to look over my case. But they automatically say no because I was a ‘criminal’,” said Robles Loreto.

ICE officials say they are not dropping Rosa’s case, but they are not actively pursuing her removal from the country either.

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Aalia Shaheed is part of the Junior Reporter program at Fox News. Get more information on the program here and follow them on Twitter: @FNCJrReporters