Immigrant who sought sanctuary at Durham church, was deported in 2018, dies in Mexico

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – A Mexican citizen who sought sanctuary at a church in Durham before being deported in 2018 died due to injuries suffered in a car accident last year, the church’s pastor confirmed.

Samuel Oliver-Bruno was deported in November 2018. Prior to that, he had been in sanctuary at CityWell United Methodist Church in Durham after his stay of removal request was denied a year before.

Pastor Crystal DesVignes said that after his deportation, Oliver-Bruno was in a car accident in Mexico in April 2020. She said he died this week due to injuries sustained in the crash.

“We ask for all to continue to lift his family in prayer during this most difficult time,” DesVignes wrote in an email.

Oliver-Bruno came into the United States illegally in 2014 to be with his sick wife, who he said was undergoing open-heart surgery.

After spending about a year in sanctuary, Oliver-Bruno left on Nov. 23, 2018, for a fingerprinting appointment at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Morrisville. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested him and later transferred him to the Stewart Detention Center in Georgia.

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