Facing deportation, mom takes refuge in Manhattan church

A young mother has taken refuge in an uptown church because she is afraid of being deported if she leaves. She is staying put for now in a desperate bid to keep her family together.

Washington Heights is a special place. These days it has a strong Latino presence but Jewish, Irish, and Italian New Yorkers have all counted on this community over the years.

Amanda Morales is a Guatemalan immigrant. She came to at Holyrood Episcopal Church on W. 179th Street on Thursday seeking refuge. The alternative was meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement where she was told to show and bring a one-way plane ticket to be deported.

Father Juan Carlos Ruiz said the church is not harboring criminals. He said the church is defying a law that is unjust.

Morales, 33, a mother of three children who have legal status, fled violence in her home country. She has a meeting Monday with ICE. Her goal is to be granted a stay. Until ICE changes, the church is her home and she can't leave.

Under Trump administration's crackdown on illegal immigration, detentions of non-authorized immigrants rose 37 percent over the first six months of the year compared with the same period in 2016.