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Faith Leaders Host Vigil, Protest Immigration Crack-Down

After her check-in, Erika Fierro holds back tears while praying with her pastor, Father Larry Janezic. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

After her check-in, Erika Fierro holds back tears while praying with her pastor, Father Larry Janezic. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Erika Fierro immigrated to the U.S. when she was 5-years-old and has two U.S.-born children. Last month, despite no criminal history, she was arrested by immigration officials outside her home.

Religious leaders in Indiana accompanied Fierro to her mandatory immigration check-in Tuesday and held a vigil to protest her situation.

Her pastor and the Catholic Archbishop of Indianapolis Charles Thompson attended her immigration check-in for both support and out of concern that Fierro would be immediately detained.

Catholic Archbishop Charles Thompson offers a prayer before he, Father Larry Janezic, and Erika Fierro go inside the immigration office. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Catholic Archbishop Charles Thompson offers a prayer before he, Father Larry Janezic, and Erika Fierro go inside the immigration office. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

They hoped Fierro might be granted a “credible fear interview,” which would allow her to go before a judge to demonstrate she has a credible fear of returning to Mexico, which would halt her deportation. Fierro says multiple relatives have been kidnapped or killed by gangs in Mexico.

But that didn’t happen.

“The deportation still, it’s still going. It continues its process,” Fierro says.

Archbishop Thompson says the entire Catholic Church is called to help people like Erika Fierro.

“Pope Francis reminds us, those are the people we have to walk with, and stand with,” Thompson says. “This is one of these moments, with Erika in this very vulnerable moment in her life, and not only her life, but the life of her family.”

Faith In Indiana executive director Shoshanna Spector says the Trump administration is targeting people like Fierro unfairly.

“Ultimately, this looks more like ethnic cleansing in pre-Holocaust Germany than it looks like hometown Indiana,” Spector says.

Fierro was warned during her check-in that she may only have a few weeks to get her affairs in order, including custody of her children.

Before the vigil starts, supporters stand outside in the rain saying prayers in Spanish and English. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Before the vigil starts, supporters stand outside in the rain saying prayers in Spanish and English. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

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