Supporters of an undocumented immigrant arrested last week gathered on Monday outside the Wake County Detention Center for a worship service where they called for his release.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested Samuel Oliver-Bruno Friday and transferred him to the Stewart Detention Center in Georgia on Monday. He had been living at the CityWell United Methodist Church in Durham, taking sanctuary there for nearly a year.

He left the church Friday for a fingerprinting appointment at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Morrisville.

“He knew the risk. Everyone knew the risk. But, honestly, we were expecting better from ICE,” said Rev. Ismael Ruiz-Millan.

ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said Oliver-Bruno “has no lawful basis to remain in the U.S.”

Rev. Ruiz-Millan says even Oliver-Bruno lived in the U.S. since the mid-90s. He returned to Mexico to see his family a few years ago.

Cox said when he tried to return to the U.S., Oliver-Bruno used fraudulent identity documents and was convicted of that in 2014. He stayed in the U.S. as he tried to appeal, taking sanctuary at the church in Durham in December 2017.

Cox said, “…even though there are no legal barriers to Mr. Oliver-Bruno’s removal at this time, the agency has said it won’t move forward with actually scheduling his removal until one additional appeal is resolved.”

Oliver-Bruno has lived in the U.S. with his wife Julia and son Daniel, who is a U.S. citizen. Daniel was also arrested Friday, accused of assaulting an ICE agent.

In addition, police arrested 27 protesters who tried to block the ICE van carrying Oliver-Bruno from leaving the USCIS office in Morrisville.

Many of those protesters returned to the Wake County jail Monday morning for a worship service where they called on federal officials to release Oliver-Bruno.

“We’re hopeful that what we’re doing is amplifying a conversation that has to happen around a more just immigration policy and law,” said Rev. Cleve May, pastor at CityWell United Methodist Church. “We’re very hopeful that our senators will leverage the influence that they have, that they can slow down this process.”

On Monday, a spokesman for U.S. House Representative David Price released a statement about the case:

“On Friday, Mr. Price spoke to senior ICE officials, who assured him that Mr. Oliver-Bruno would not be deported from the United States until after his USCIS claim was adjudicated,” the statement said.

Some of Oliver-Bruno’s supporters also met Monday with staff members of Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis.

May said the meeting “went as well as that meeting could go.”

In an email, a spokesman for Sen. Tillis wrote, “Senator Tillis’ office is aware of the situation regarding Samuel Oliver-Bruno. We have inquired on the case and will continue to monitor the situation.”

Democratic Congressmen David Price and G.K. Butterfield said in a release Monday night that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services denied Oliver-Bruno’s petition for deferred deportation.