Jeanette Vizguerra, 44, sought sanctuary in the First Unitarian Society church after U.S. Immigration and Enforcement officials denied her request for a "stay of removal" on Wednesday, immigration lawyer Hans Meyer told Reuters.
Vizguerra said she wanted to extend the stay on her deportation order, which expired last week, while she continues the application process for a special visa. The extension was denied when she failed to show up for the meeting. Meyer appeared in court for her, saying she probably would have been taken into custody if she appeared, KDVR reported.
Activists called it "an act of resistance" and referred to Vizguerra as a "longtime leader in the immigrant and labor movements."
Vizguerra lives in Denver with her husband and three youngest children — Luna, 12; Roberto, 10; and Cury, 6. They were all born in the United States.
Her oldest daughter,l Tania, a Mexican national, is an adult who lives in Denver, has children of her own and has a work permit under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, KDVR reported.
Vizguerra had received five previous stays because she was the victim of an unspecified violent crime and has a pending visa application, Meyer told Reuters.
She was convicted of two misdemeanors, one for using falsified documents and another for illegally re-entering the United States after attending her mother’s funeral in Mexico, he said.