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Young mother seeking sanctuary from deportation in SLC hopes struggle will end soon

Posted at 9:53 PM, Mar 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-20 08:25:11-04

SALT LAKE CITY - Vicky Chavez was last outside just before she stepped through a pair of Salt Lake City church doors to avoid deportation.

On Jan. 30, Chavez made the difficult decision not to board her deportation flight back to Honduras, a place she escaped from in 2014 because of domestic violence and the country's social struggles.

Since she's been here, her 8-month-old learned to crawl, and her 4-year-old is loving going to class and meeting friends.

While Chavez is staying optimistic she says staying here has been emotionally challenging.

“It feels as if I have been here for 6 months. It's hard to believe it has only been one month,” she said.

When she refused deportation, the LDS convert was welcomed into the First Unitarian Church in Salt Lake, not knowing how long she would stay.

“I'm surprised with all the support this other church has given us,” Chavez said. “I have cried. I have cried but I try not to cry in front of my daughters because I don't want them to see my sadness."

It's the simple things she misses most, like going outside with her girls.

“I feel nostalgic when I see my daughters playing outside. I get really emotional,” Chavez said.

Vicky says her heart breaks thinking about the time she has lost with her family who is just miles away, but she's optimistic she'll be able to walk out these church doors soon.

“I have faith in God this will end soon,” Chavez said.

No law prevents federal agents from storming this church, but they do have a policy that protects sensitive locations.

Vicky's attorney is now working to have her case reopened so she can continue her appeal to stay in the U.S.