Hundreds of people attended a vigil Sunday night outside a New Haven church for Nury Chavarria, a Norwalk mother who is defying a deportation order, and they said they hope she can stay in the state.
Last week Chavarria skipped a flight to her native Guatemala and found refuge in the Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal on East Pearl Street.
Since then U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has considered her a fugitive.
On Sunday, Chavarria briefly walked outside the church to thank those who had gathered there.
“I wanted to support Nury and her children,” Theresa Govert, of East Haddam, said.
“I’m a Christian and I believe that sometimes God calls us to stand against injustice,” Diane Dynia, of Hamden, said.
Among those supporting Chavarria’s fight to stay in the country are New Haven Mayor Toni Harp and Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, who promised he and his city will help Chavarria and her four children.
“To make sure that her family can stay in their home, can stay in school, can have food on the table,” Rilling said.
In an interview with NBC Connecticut this weekend, Chavarria explained why she raced to the church.
“I made this decision because I want to stay near to my family, to be together,” Chavarria said.
For now, she’s avoiding the fate of leaving behind her children and the country she’s lived in for the past 24 years.
Federal immigration agents have told us they will not raid churches and Chavarria said she is preparing to stay at the church for quite some time.