Almost one year since Lucio Perez first took sanctuary at Amherst church

Hampshire County

The First Congregational church has been Lucio’s home since October of 2017.

Though Lucio is safe in the church he’d much rather be home with his family in Springfield.

On October 18th, 2017 Guatemalan immigrant Lucio Perez made a decision that would impact him and his family’s life. On that day, he decided to take sanctuary inside the First Congregational Church in Amherst to avoid deportation.

Almost a year later, his legal situation remains the same.

First Congregational Church Pastor Vicki Kemper told 22News efforts are still underway and that the goal is to make sure Lucio returns home to his family in Springfield.

A 2009 encounter with police for child endangerment put Perez on ICE’s radar. 

Reverend Kemper said Lucio now has a new lawyer, “She is working on some new motions to file with the Immigration Courts that will allow his case to be re-opened and that he’ll be able to be free with his family in Springfield.”

Since Perez is unable to work, 300 people have made financial contributions to help Perez’ family. 

On Sunday, the church will hold a service reflecting on the past year and a renewed commitment to Perez and his family going forward. 

On Sunday the church bell will ring 361 times to honor each day Lucio has been living there.

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