Community holds vigil for Durham man detained by ICE

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Supporters packed Citywell United Methodist Church Saturday night to show their support for Samuel Oliver-Bruno, the Mexican native living in Durham who was detained Saturday by ICE.

"Tonight is a space for prayer and for lament," said Cleve May, a pastor at Citywell United Methodist Church who helped lead the prayer vigil.

Alerta Migratoria NC, a local immigrant advocacy group, said plainclothes ICE agents detained Oliver-Bruno Friday morning after USCIS requested he appear in person to provide fingerprints.. a necessary step for his petition for deferred deportation.

"It's something that's very unexpected. Something that this person Samuel was doing what he was required to do to obtain legal status," Natalie Gonzalez, a pastor with Citywell United Methodist church explained prior to Saturday's event.

Jose Chicas supports Oliver-Bruno, but was unable to attend. He, like Oliver-Bruno up until Friday, receives sanctuary .

He fled El Salvador in the 1980's due to that country's war, and has lived in the United States for 34 years.

"He has a wife who's ill who needs him. And he has a son who's a student," Chicas said, describing Oliver-Bruno's situation.
When we sat down with Chicas, Pastor Isaac Villegas - who was one of 27 people arrested during yesterday's demonstration - helped translate our interview.

EMBED More News Videos

Man receiving sanctuary supports Durham man detained by ICE

Chicas told ABC 11 he received texts from friends urging him to stay inside after Oliver-Bruno was detained.

"There is a community of people behind them," Gonzalez noted.

Supporters of Oliver-Bruno argue he was still in sanctuary since members of the church accompanied him to his appointment.

In a statement, ICE said Oliver-Bruno's case has been subject to extensive appeals and he has no legal basis to remain in the country.

"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested unlawfully present Mexican national Samuel Oliver-Bruno during a targeted enforcement action Nov. 23 in metro Raleigh, North Carolina. Mr. Oliver-Bruno is a convicted criminal who has received all appropriate legal process under federal law, has no outstanding appeals, and has no legal basis to remain in the U.S.

"Mr. Oliver-Bruno was initially arrested by the U.S. Border Patrol in El Paso, Texas, in May 2014 while attempting to illegally enter the U.S. using fraudulent identity documents. He was paroled into the country solely for federal criminal prosecution and convicted in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in May 2014. ICE subsequently encountered Mr. Oliver-Bruno in June 2014 and his case has been subject to extensive appeals, which ultimately concluded Mr. Oliver-Bruno has no legal basis to remain in the U.S.," said ICE spokesman Bryan D. Cox.
Copyright © 2022 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.