By Matthew McCully
Plymouth-Trinity United Church has agreed to offer sanctuary to a family of three from Mexico after an appeal of their deportation order was refused on Monday.
The family, Georgina Flores, Manuel Rodriguez and their son Manolo, fled their native country and came to Canada in 2018, fearing for their lives because of threats from Mexican drug cartels.
The Rodriguez-Flores family was facing a deadline of 8:20 p.m. Tuesday to leave Canadian soil when a supporter reached out to the United church for help.
Being the closest congregation, Plymouth-Trinity members met with the family and after careful consideration, agreed to offer them sanctuary.
“We, the community of faith of Plymouth-Trinity are not wishing to contravene in the immigration laws of our country, but rather to tap into the ancient and canonical practice of offering sanctuary to people who are under threat or persecution,” the congregation said in a statement Tuesday, an-nouncing that the Rodriguez-Flores family had moved into the church.
“We wish to provide the Rodriguez-Flores family with the time that is needed to stay in this coun-try in a legal and appropriate manner, all while shielding them from the very real threat to their lives and safety should they return to their native country of Mexico.”
According to Pastor Samuel Vauvert Dansokho, the decision to house the family wasn’t taken lightly, but because the Rodriguez-Flores family was facing a life or death situation by returning to Mexico, the church felt compelled to act.
While the practice is uncommon, this is not the first time sanctuary has been provided in the Town-ships. In 2003, the Unitarian Universalist Church in North Hatley took in a family, a father and daughter, that had received death threats in Columbia.