BOULDER, Colo. — The Trump administration is ordering immigrants who have failed to leave after a deportation order to pay thousands of dollars in fines.
Ingrid Encalada Latorre, who is in sanctuary at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder, received such a letter.
In 2016, she agreed to leave the country voluntarily. Instead, she took sanctuary at the church.
Federal agents typically won't enter a church to make an immigration arrest.
"First of July I received an email from immigration from Washington DC, a penalty violation that I had to pay almost 5,000,” said Encalada Latorre.
The letter said she failed to leave the U.S. by May of 2016 and as a result now had to pay a fine of $4,792.
ICE is allowed, under the Immigration and Nationality Act, to impose civil fines on immigrants who have been ordered to leave but failed to do so.
In a statement, ICE told 9NEWS they are required to let people know about the civil penalty and they in turn have 30 days to argue why they shouldn’t be fined. Ingrid and her lawyers are planning to appeal this notice.
"It’s too much, how are we going to pay that money?” asked Encalada Latorre.
Her husband is the only one working right now and she sells hand-made jewelry to help, "but we don’t make that much money so it’s impossible to pay."
"What happens when we don’t pay are they going to give us something? A residency card? Citizenship? I don’t think so because this administration is attacking us every day, they’re closing more doors,” she said.
Encalada La Torre bought a social security number so she could work. She says she didn't know it might belong to someone else or that it could bring legal consequences.
Since then, she’s started a campaign to encourage other immigrants not to work with fake social security numbers.
ICE Statement in full:
The Immigration and Nationality Act grants U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement the authority to impose civil fines on aliens who have been ordered removed or granted voluntary departure and fail to depart the United States. Aliens who willfully refuse to meet the obligations of an order issued by the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review may receive a Notice of Intention to Fine (NIFs), and are subsequently provided a 30-day period to respond to the notice before a formal decision whether to issue a fine is made. ICE is committed to using various enforcement methods – including arrest; detention; technological monitoring; and financial penalties – to enforce U.S. immigration law and maintain the integrity of legal orders issued by judges.