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A U.S. church provides sanctuary to Pakistani woman facing deportation

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A 62-year-old Pakistani Muslim woman Saheeda Nadeem has been provided with a sanctuary by a church in the state of Michigan. Saheeda had been told by the immigration to return to her country. She has been living in the U.S. for the last 13 years.

Pakistani refugees in U.S. Churches

On March 12, the First Congregational Church in Kalamazoo in the state of Michigan gave her green signal, and offered her sanctuary. Rev. Sarah Schmidt-Lee said: “She is in our church because she is at risk of deportation”. Rev. Sarah Schmidt-Lee further explained that the church is committed to provide sanctuary to people particularly if “there was a circumstance where deportation would mean splitting of a family”.

Also Read: Pakistani Christian brutally beaten to death by doctors

The church authorities said that they are in contact with their lawyer and political leaders; so that possible ways could be chalked out in order to save Saheeda Nadeem from being deported. “She is part of our community regardless of her faith,” Rev. Sarah Schmidt-Lee said. Kalamazoo’s First Congregational Church is only one of several hundred churches in the United States that are providing sanctuary to people facing deportation by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

40 years ago, Saheeda left Pakistan and went to Kuwait. She worked as a domestic helper in Kuwait, later on moved to the United States on a non-immigrant visa. Talking to GEO News, Saheeda disclosed that immigration had told her to go back to Pakistan. She said that instead of returning to Pakistan, she came to the church seeking help.

“I cannot go there [Pakistan]. My son is here, my family is here. I lost my daughter here. She graduated here, and she died here. I go to her grave every day. But ever since I’ve been here, I can’t. Now all I have my son. I can’t see my daughter and now I can’t see my daughter’s grave either,” Saheeda told GEO News.