Migrants avoiding deportation facing six-figure fines from ICE

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WCAV) -- (7/9/2019) - Immigration and Customs Enforcement is ramping up the pressure on undocumented people, trying to get them to leave the United States, including those living in sanctuary, by fining them thousands of dollars.

The church says Maria Chavalan Sut received a mailed notice from ICE that she owes a six-figure fine for remaining in the U.S. / Source: WCAV

That includes Guatemalan Maria Chavalan Sut, who took refuge in Charlottesville to avoid being deported. She has been living at the Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in Charlottesville for almost a year.

The church says she received a mailed notice from ICE that she owes a six-figure fine for remaining in the U.S.

One immigration lawyer, Sofia Gregg with the Legal Aid Justice Center, who is not affiliated with Sut's case, says it just another way to try and intimidate the migrants.

"This does seem like another way to terrorize this community. Immigrants are individually becoming more and more afraid that here is another way in which to get them out of that sanctuary network whether that's through legal action, making them feel maybe it's time to self-deport," she said.

According to published reports, ICE can fine those living in the U.S. illegally up to $799 a day.

However, immigration officers cannot enter a church, hospital or school serving as a sanctuary site.

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