Woman who took church sanctuary granted stay of deportation

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A woman who took sanctuary in a Massachusetts church to avoid deportation to her native Peru has been granted a one year stay of removal by federal immigration officials.

The Pioneer Valley Project and members of the South Congregational Church in Springfield announced Monday that Gisella Collazo will be allowed to return to her Springfield home while pursuing a change in status so she can remain in the U.S.

Collazo, who is married to an American citizen and has two U.S.-born children, took sanctuary in the church in March after being ordered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to leave the country immediately.

She has said her efforts to remain in the U.S. have been stymied by “attorney errors.”

ICE said she entered the U.S. illegally in 2001 using a fraudulent passport.

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