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Woman Lives In Sanctuary In Utah While Appealing Asylum Status

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A woman seeking asylum status in the United States said she would continue her fight despite her case being dealt a blow in June when the Board of Immigration of Appeals denied her appeal.

Vicky Chavez has been living in sanctuary with her two daughters at the First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City since January 30, and she said she planned to do so into the foreseeable future as she tries additional legal avenues.

“The fight for asylum continues,” Chavez said. “I feel it is my only option to try and reopen my asylum case while keeping my family safe.”

Activists, church members, and clergy flanked Chavez at the church Monday evening as she updated reporters on her case.

She came to the U.S. in 2014 after fleeing the threat of domestic violence in Honduras.

“I’m here tonight to confirm that First Unitarian Church will journey with our friend Vicky for as long as it takes to resolve her case,” said Rev. Monica Dobbins, assistant minister.

Advocate Easton Smith said the next step would be to go before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Smith said Chavez would also once again ask Immigration and Customs Enforcement to stay her removal.

ICE had previously denied a similar request, Smith acknowledged.

Smith said Chavez had done everything under the law to attain asylum.

“Vicky believes that she has a strong case for asylum, and that that case has never been properly heard due to the failures of the system,” he said.

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