While anyone with a shred of humanity was horrified on Sunday by images and video of children and families being gassed at the U.S./Mexico border after migrants attempted to legally enter the country by filing for asylum at approved checkpoints, one group was willing to lay their lives and freedom on the line to help an undocumented immigrant.
A group of 27 church members from CityWell Methodist church in Durham, North Carolina were arrested for blocking an ICE van after they arrested a church member, Samuel Oliver-Bruno, who had been given sanctuary in the church’s basement for the past year. Oliver-Bruno is the father of an American-born son.
Together, the church’s congregation accompanied Oliver-Bruno to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Morrisville, North Carolina, where he was seeking a routine application for registration. When they arrived, other members were waiting in the parking lot, praying for the man as he attempted to file legal paperwork to remain in the United States.
‘At about 8:45 a.m., the caravan arrived at the office, where nearly 100 other people had already gathered, May said. They prayed in the parking lot, and as Oliver-Bruno went inside with his son, his attorney and his pastor, the group started singing a Spanish hymn right outside the door.
‘It didn’t last long. Two minutes later, they traded the singing for screaming.’
27 CityWell United Methodist Church Members Arrested In North Carolina After Blocking ICE Arrest – The Washington Post https://t.co/w1EDGJnVj4
— Matt Jantzen (@DrMattJantzen) November 26, 2018
After entering the building, however, he was wrestled to the ground along with his son and arrested while his son clung to him. Oliver-Bruno first came to the United States to seek better healthcare for his wife, who suffers from lupus.
— Sarah Krueger (@WRALSarah) November 25, 2018
Pastor Cleve May told reporters:
‘We told the police chief, “We understand this is your job, but we need you to understand that as a matter of conviction we cannot move, and you will have to arrest us.”‘
Yesterday prayers were offered for The CityWell (CityWell United Methodist Church in Durham) and their conviction as they surrounded their friend Samuel. This led to the arrest of 26… https://t.co/1wInl7ZqIz
— Bethel UMC Bethel NC (@BethelUMC27812) November 26, 2018
The group surrounded the van while singing “We Shall Not Be Moved” and “Amazing Grace.” Police arrived on the scene and arrested many of them.
Featured image screenshot via YouTube