AP NEWS

Immigration officials “aware” immigrant couple in sanctuary

March 26, 2018

OLD LYME, Conn. (AP) — Immigration officials say they are aware of a Pakistani couple seeking sanctuary in a Connecticut church.

Malik Nayeed bin Rehman and Zahida Atlaf are in sanctuary at First Congregational Church of Old Lyme after not complying with a U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement order of removal.

The couple is living at the church with their 5-year-old daughter Roniya after being told to leave the country by March 19. A spokesman for the agency says they are “aware” of the couple’s location.

ICE considers churches to be “sensitive locations,” but according to the spokesman, enforcement actions can be taken with prior approval of a supervisory official.

The couple came to the U.S. legally in 2000 on non-immigrant visas, but remained past their visas’ expiration dates.

Bin Rehman and Atlaf met with U.S. Congressman Richard Blumenthal Sunday to discuss their appeal to legal authorities to remain in the state.