The woman took sanctuary at a Kalamazoo church during the Trump administration, which implemented a host of anti-immigration policies.
KALAMAZOO, Mich.— A woman who spent nearly three years at a southwestern Michigan church to avoid deportation can return to the community, her attorney said.
Saheeda Nadeem has been given a supervision order by the federal government, which lifts any imminent threat of being deported to Pakistan, said Susan Reed, an attorney at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center.
“Today, I have freedom,” Nadeem said Wednesday.
She arrived in the US 13 years ago, hoping for a better life for her children, but overstayed her visa. Courts had ordered her removal, but no action was taken. Nadeem feared for her safety in her native country, Pakistan, where she hadn’t lived in years.
Nadeem sought refuge at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Kalamazoo in 2018 as the Trump administration took an aggressive approach toward immigrants.
“We appreciate the government’s new approach to her case, and we will continue to work for a more just system for all immigrants,” Reed said.
The Rev. Nathan Dannison said giving Nadeem a place to stay was a step in following Jesus Christ.
“We are grateful for this development, and we continue to pray for Saheeda,” he said.