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According to WRAL News, a Durham pastor and his congregation at City Well United Methodist Church are trying to live out God’s word by serving as the sanctuary to an immigrant facing deportation, after living in the United States for 22 years.  Sources say Reverend Cleve May expects some won’t agree with the decision, but he and the congregation are more concerned with what is just than what is legal.

For Samuel Oliver-Bruno the City Well United Methodist Church will be his home indefinitely.  The law states that ICE will not to arrest anyone who is inside a church, hospital or school which is why after 22 years in the United States, he is now only safe from deportation inside the church walls.

Oliver-Bruno is the sole breadwinner for his son, who’s in high school and his wife, who has lupus.  The serious medical condition makes her extremely weak.

WRAL News reports that while speaking through a translator, Oliver-Bruno thanked the congregation for offering him sanctuary.  “I cannot give up. I have to fight for my family. I have to stay because they need me,” he said.

Oliver-Bruno’s family is still living in Greenville, so that his son can finish high school. His son Daniel earned a scholarship to attend Pitt Community College and wants to finish his degree at East Carolina University.

As anyone can imagine it is hard for the family to live apart, however it is necessary.  Oliver-Bruno found the church thanks to a local nonprofit that helps immigrants.

Pastor May told WRAL News that God is calling his church to help.  He continued “It may be currently legal in the United States to deport Samuel, but nowhere in God’s Earth is this just.”

Oliver-Bruno said when he asked the ICE official why he is being deported after 22 years, he was simply told it is what the Trump administration wants.

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