Vicky Chavez is waiting for the day when she can take her daughters to Disneyland, or even to a Salt Lake park where they can sit in the grass and eat ice cream.

The girls, ages 3 and 9, aren’t allowed to go outside, the Deseret News reported. The family has taken sanctuary for three years in a church in Salt Lake City, and Chavez worries if they leave the building that immigration authorities might apprehend them and send them back to Honduras.

Chavez, 33, says she’s hopeful that will change as President Joe Biden’s administration begins reshaping immigration enforcement policies.

“I cannot continue to be waiting a long time,” Chavez told reporters Wednesday.

Her older daughter attends online school from inside First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City, while Chavez teaches the younger girl to name toys and other items in both English and Spanish.

But Chavez wants her daughters to see waves break on a beach and share dinners made from scratch in the homes of other family members in the U.S. “They deserve to be happy,” she says.

Chavez was on her way to the airport in January 2018 after exhausting appeals of a deportation order when she decided to accept the church’s offer to take refuge there.

“It was an act of faith for the church to offer sanctuary, and an act of faith for me to accept,” Chavez said Wednesday. She wiped away tears at times during the news conference.

She had fled her home country because of an abusive boyfriend, and first sought asylum in the United States in 2014. She said she worried that returning to Honduras would put her kids in danger.


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