What I Learned From Nine Months in Sanctuary

For me Sanctuary has been a refuge and a protection from being separated from my family, to be able to continue fighting my legal case, as this is a sacred space that the authorities respect and where I can count on the backing of a great faith community.

Entering Sanctuary was a drastic change in my life as I had to make the decision whether or not to come in a very short time. Being shut in the same place for nine months has not been easy with a family to care for.

Sanctuary has taught me the value of liberty and the things in life that are simple, but also indispensable to life, like the air, the sun and the rain. To value the moments of being with family and the importance of family unity. I’ve learned to live together with new people, to watch how the citizen community has an interest in supporting immigrants, and to see that there are more good people that see us with clear eyes, who understand what our needs are and what we come to this country for.

Sanctuary has changed me. I’ve learned to be more patient and respect the time it takes to obtain the things for which one struggles. I hope the sacrifice that my wife and I have made together will inspire our daughters to be people that work for the good of this country and that we’ve taught them to stand up for themselves and the things they believe in.

I’ve learned a little more about activism and I’d like my community to get involved and lead more in immigrant rights and social justice; to lend support for problems in other communities against racism and other discrimination. Personally I’m also committed to get more involved, to keep educating myself and to educate others about these subjects.

I’ve come to know and understand more about the Unitarian Church, that they base their values in the pursuit of justice for the community like Black Lives Matter and racial justice, the equality of LGBT people, the fight against police brutality, and justice for undocumented people as well as the struggle for environmental justice. They strongly support and value the youth and children.

Sanctuary has taught me to fight and to struggle for what one wants; my objective is to stay in this country with my family and to one day to live here legally. I try to hold up how important it is to keep all our families together and the injury deportation causes to our families as well as show the reality that we are a huge profitable business for detention centers and for the government.

In my case the discretion I’ve received is only one small step that allows me to return to my home. My legal case continues and I’ll keep fighting with the support of the community and my lawyer. The help of my community and family has been so important, as well as immigrant groups and communities of faith; even today they still support me and that support has been a huge part of this small victory.

I have learned that people can fight their cases. Not only can it help their cases, but it can also inspire others to do the same, and from these struggles will come the change we are looking for. The fight to keep our families together is real and dignified. I think that we, as immigrants, are on the correct path. We are not second or third class people, we are equal as human beings and neither our color nor our language makes us different or less than. Sanctuary has taught me that when the people are united and when many communities unite to fight for something, we can achieve our goal. It is very difficultto change the things you’d like to change alone, it is unity that makes true strength.

Translated by Jennifer Piper of the American Friends Service Committee.