BOULDER – The husband of a Peruvian immigrant living in a Colorado church to avoid deportation has been arrested by U.S. immigration agents.
Eliseo Jurado-Fernandez, 30, was detained by immigration agents during a trip to the grocery store, said his wife, Ingrid Encalada Latorre, The Daily Camera reported Thursday.
He was not living with his wife at the church and she called the arrest “an attack on me,” speaking through an interpreter at Boulder Unitarian Universalist Church, where she has been living for less than a month.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Jurado-Fernandez illegally entered the United States in 2004, was convicted of driving while ability impaired in 2007 and has three other misdemeanor convictions.
In a statement, immigration and customs field office director Jeffrey Lynch said Jurado-Fernandez came to the agency’s attention during an investigation into his wife but that his arrest was not connected to her taking sanctuary.
“Contrary to misguided speculation, ICE did not target Jurado-Fernandez in retaliation for Encalada Latorre taking sanctuary from deportation in a Colorado church,” he said.
Encalada Latorre had planned to return to her hometown of Cusco, Peru, with her children, who are U.S. citizens, in October after failing to win a pardon from Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, for a conviction for possessing falsified or stolen identification papers. But she changed her mind and took refuge in a church for a second time. She had previously spent six months in a Quaker meeting house in Denver before reuniting with her family after immigration officials said they would not seek her arrest while she appealed her conviction.
Jurado-Fernandez was born in Mexico and came to the U.S. as a teenager to join his parents, according to the American Friends Service Committee Colorado, which works with churches to house immigrants facing deportation.
His father is a U.S. citizen and his mother is a permanent resident, the group said.