Press conference in Austin and caravan to San Antonio planned to stop deportation of asylum seeker from Sanctuary

December 4, 2017

Dozens will join in solidarity with Alirio Gámez, who has been in Sanctuary at an Austin church for months with support from the Austin Sanctuary Network as he submits paperwork at the ICE San Antonio office

WHAT: Press Conference and Rally to #LetAlirioStay
WHO: Alirio Gámez, Rev. Chris Jimmerson of First Unitarian Universalist Church, Sulma Franco and Peggy Morton of Austin Sanctuary Network, and supporters from Austin and San Antonio

PRESS CONFERENCE IN AUSTIN: Wednesday, December 6 at 8:30 AM
First Unitarian Universalist Church, 4700 Grover Ave, Austin, TX 78756

RALLY IN SAN ANTONIO: Wednesday, December 6 at 11:00 AM
Immigration and Customs Enforcement Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Field Office, 3523 Crosspoint San Antonio, Texas

(AUSTIN and SAN ANTONIO, Texas) — On Wednesday, Alirio Gámez, who has taken Sanctuary from deportation in the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin since September 5, will step out of the church to tell ICE to stop his deportation.

“We are telling ICE to respect my right to safety. On Wednesday, we are going to show ICE our strength in unity and we expect to have a victory in our hands,” Alirio said.

Alirio will speak during the press conference outside the church at 8:30 AM with Rev. Chris Jimmerson of First Unitarian Universalist Church and Sulma Franco, who took Sanctuary in 2015. Alirio will be accompanied by members of his community who support his right to remain in the United States, including members of the Austin Sanctuary Network and Grassroots Leadership, and clergy of Congregational Church of Austin, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, Saint Andrews Presbyterian of Austin, Trinity Church of Austin, and Texas UU Justice Ministry.

Alirio’s supporters will travel by caravan to file his Stay of Removal in San Antonio and to meet with ICE officials regarding his case.

Gámez, an asylum seeker from El Salvador, was denied asylum in the United States after being in three detention centers and now faces deportation to certain harm in his country of origin. His petition to stop his deportation has collected over 2,000 signatures, and more than 100 calls have been made to ICE offices on his behalf. Gámez received letters of support from Rep. Eddie Rodriguez and Austin City Council members Leslie Pool and Greg Casar.

“We are going to demand that Alirio stay in the country and be granted a stay of removal,” says Alejandro Caceres, immigration organizer with Grassroots Leadership. “We have built a network that supports him and is enriched by him. Because of this, we also believe that ICE has no authority to come into our city and deport anyone from our community.”

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Grassroots Leadership is an Austin, Texas-based national organization that works to end prison profiteering and reduce reliance on criminalization and detention through direct action, organizing, research, and public education.


Alejandro Caceres,, (512) 499-8111