After 10-months, illegal immigrant Lucio Perez continues to call First Congregational Church in Amherst home, while his legal situation remains the same.
“We are asking the Bureau of Immigration Appeals to reopen his case,” said Revered Vicki Kemper of First Congregational Church. “We’re in the process of filing some new motions around and submitting some new information, and it’s just a very long, slow process.”
Perez, who lives in Springfield, is a husband and father of four. He’s fighting to keep his family together after ICE officials ordered him to return back to Guatemala last summer.
For nearly 20-years, he has lived in this country, but a 2009 encounter with police for child endangerment, put him on ICE’s radar. He’s now considered a fugitive, that hundreds of community members continue to rally behind.
Twelve different faith communities provide meals for Perez. Eighty people have been trained to drive his family from Springfield to Amherst for visits. And since living in a church can be lonely, there are 200 volunteers to accompany him, so Perez is never alone.
Since the former landscaper and main provider is unable to work, 300 people have made financial contributions to help Perez’ family.
Revered Vicki Kemper told 22News the community has rallied together thru marches and vigils.
Starting in September, First Congregational Church is starting an interfaith prayer service for anyone who wishes to attend.