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After taking sanctuary in a church, man's deportation delayed by ICE

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Source: 12 News Source: 12 News

PHOENIX, Ariz.- A married father of five children set to be deported was granted a stay after taking sanctuary at a north Phoenix church.

Jesus Berrones, 30, is the bread winner for his family. His 5-year-old son has leukemia and his wife has their sixth child on the way.

Berrones chose not to show up at to his ICE appointment for deportation Monday. Instead, he sought sanctuary at at the Shadow Rock United Church of Christ in Phoenix. It is one of the churches around the U.S. that have let immigrants faced with the threat of deportation to remain at their sanctuaries.

Later Monday afternoon, Berrones got news from his lawyer that ICE granted him a stay, which means he is able to leave his sanctuary and work with a permit so he can provide for his family. His lawyer, Garrett Wilkes, said his stay is good for 11 months and he must petition for it again in January 2019.

In a statement ICE said the following about Berrones:

“In an exercise of discretion, ICE has granted Jesus Armando Berrones-Balderas a one-year stay of removal on humanitarian grounds. ICE issued a previous one-year stay in June 2016. Berrones-Balderas, who has received a final order of removal, remains enrolled in the agency's Alternatives to Detention program, which requires him to regularly check-in with the local ICE office.”

Berrones' first encounter with ICE was in October 2006. He was granted voluntary return to Mexico, according to an ICE official.

READICE defends deportation of immigrant in U.S. nearly 30 years

In April 2010, Berrones was again in ICE custody after being released from Maricopa County jail. He was again granted a voluntary return to Mexico, according to an ICE official.

One month later in May 2010, Berrones was deported from the United States as an "expedited removal" after encountering federal immigration authorities, according to an ICE official.

In February 2016 he again encountered immigration authorities and was sentenced to 90 days in federal prison, according to an ICE official. In June 2016, ICE granted him a one-year stay of removal.

Berrones' pregnant wife Sonia and their children are all American citizens. Their son Jayden was diagnosed with leukemia in 2016 and is undergoing a three-year course of chemotherapy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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