Share story

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A Western Massachusetts church is providing sanctuary to a Peruvian woman facing deportation and her two children.

Members of the Springfield Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition said Monday the South Congregational United Church of Christ in Springfield is openings its doors to Gisella Collazo and her American-born children.

Collazo is married to an American citizen and has been in the U.S. for 17 years. She was told by immigration officials that she had until Tuesday to return to Peru.

The coalition she has had difficulty changing her status due to “multiple legal errors.”

An ICE spokesman said the woman entered the U.S. illegally on a fraudulent passport and was granted voluntary departure by a judge in 2012. He says she had agreed to voluntarily leave the U.S. after multiple appeals were denied.