Juana Luz Tobar Ortega came to the United States 24 years ago as an asylum seeker from Guatemala. For the last six years living in North Carolina, Juana has checked in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) annually and received a stay of deportation. But in April of 2017, she was told without warning that she had 30 days to leave the country or be deported.
After over two decades in the United States, Juana refused to leave her 4 children and two 9-year-old granddaughters to return to Guatemala. Instead, in May, 2017, Juana entered sanctuary at an unfamiliar church. St. Barnabas Episcopal in Greensboro, North Carolina welcomed Juana, a complete stranger, into their church home.