Why this church opened its doors to an undocumented mom

Jeanette Vizguerra folds laundry in her room at the First Unitarian Society church in Denver.

Story highlights

  • Jeanette Vizguerra's case is a immigration "enforcement priority"
  • A Denver church is providing refuge to the mom of four
  • Offering sanctuary is the "faithfull" thing to do, the pastor says

Denver (CNN)Eddy Carroll manned the phones Thursday at the First Unitarian church in Denver.

Twenty-four hours earlier, the gray stone structure that serves as home to some 400 faithful, went largely unnoticed outside its neighborhood near the Colorado State Capitol.
"We now have a donation page on our website," Carroll told one caller.
    To another, he mentioned an event planned for Saturday. "You can come along to learn more about volunteering," he said.
    The spike in attention to this small congregation owes to its decision this week to welcome an undocumented mother of four who is wanted by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Jeanette Vizguerra arrived at the church Tuesday night, just hours before she was due to check in with ICE.
    Eddy Carroll helps man the phones Thursday at the First Unitarian church in Denver.
    The next morning, her lawyer went to the check-in on her behalf. He learned that deporting his client is an "ICE enforcement priority."
    The decree means Vizguerra is now living at the church indefinitely. She hopes it will provide her legal sanctuary at a time when President Donald Trump's executive orders on immigration have heightened fears among undocumented immigrants -- some who have been in the US for decades -- that their removal is now imminent.