Unitarian Church prepared to house asylum seeker for as long as necessary

Jan 31, 2018, 6:45 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – A woman is making headlines for seeking asylum inside a church to avoid being deported to Honduras.  Officials with that church say they’re prepared to let her stay as long as she needs.

(Photo Credit: Unidad Inmigrante)

The leadership of the First Unitarian Church say anyone asking for asylum in a church is extremely rare.  Reverend Monica Dobbins says, “We’ve never been asked to do it before. We’re the first in Utah.”

The asylum seeker, Vicky Chavez and her children, are not allowed to leave the church, or they risk being arrested.  So, the church has set up a space for them to sleep, they’re helping her buy groceries so she can cook in the kitchen, and they’re helping her with laundry.

Dobbins say Chavez is in the middle of a unique legal situation.   “Vicky has an asylum case that’s going through the courts.  She is going through the legal process to be able to stay in the United States,” Dobbins says, however, “She also has a deportation case that’s going along, and that case has moved faster.”  Dobbins says their decision to let her stay is designed to buy Chavez time until the asylum case finishes.

The arrangement was set up by the group Unidad Inmigrante.  Organizer Fabiola Madrigal says they felt it was too dangerous to allow Chavez to go back to Honduras.  “She has two little girls.  After knowing her history of domestic violence in her place of origin, we decided that this was an option that we needed to have prepared in case she wanted to use it,” Madrigal says.

Today’s Top Stories

A pilot walked away uninjured after crashing a small plane near Durst Mountain in Mountain Green on...
Amie Schaeffer

Pilot uninjured in Mountain Green plane crash

A pilot walked away uninjured after crashing a small plane near Durst Mountain in Mountain Green on Nov. 27, 2022.
8 hours ago
U.S. First lady Jill Biden receives the official 2022 White House Christmas Tree at the White House...
Kate Bennett, CNN

First lady Jill Biden chooses ‘We the People’ as theme for White House holiday decorations

Biden will officially unveil the holiday decorations and make remarks on Monday alongside leadership of the National Guard and their families.
8 hours ago
DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 25: A giant flag of IR Iran on the pitch prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2...
Ben Morse and Wayne Sterling, CNN

Iran calls for US to be kicked out of 2022 World Cup after it changes Iran flag on social media to show support for protesters

Iran state media has called for the US to be kicked out of the 2022 World Cup after the United States Soccer Federation changed Iran's flag on its social media platforms to show support for protesters in Iran.
1 day ago
Authorities in Washington County are investigating the discovery of the body of a 36-year-old man e...
Devin Oldroyd

UPDATE: Southbound I-15 lanes in Washington County reopen following closure

Utah Highway Patrol reports the partial closure of a portion of southbound I-15 in Washington County. This comes after a trailer rolled Sunday evening.
1 day ago
major storm...
Samantha Beech and Keith Allen, CNN

Thousands of US flights delayed Sunday as major storm system hampers travel

A major storm across parts of the United States prompts the three major airports servicing New York City to urge passengers to arrive early for flights
1 day ago
winter storm...
Devin Oldroyd

UDOT warns winter storm bringing roadway impacts

The Utah Department of Transportation is warning drivers that an upcoming winter storm will impact the road from 6 am Monday to noon Tuesday.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Unitarian Church prepared to house asylum seeker for as long as necessary