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2 Utah mothers, one slated for deportation on Christmas Day, supported in fundraising dinner

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SALT LAKE CITY — Dozens gathered Wednesday night to offer their support to two Utah mothers facing deportation in the coming month.

Maria Garcia and Vicky Chavez both have deportation dates in December.

“Both mothers came under asylum, fleeing war in Guatemala and domestic abuse in Honduras,” said Amy Dominguez of Unidad Inmigrante. “In an ideal situation, if there was something that our local representatives could do to step in and intervene to keep these mothers here where they deserve to be, that would be great.”

Garcia, a mother of four, said the first time her children will have seen Guatemala is when they step off of the plane flight currently scheduled for Christmas Day.

“I never imagined my kids are not going to have a Christmas this year,” Garcia said through a translator. “I just feel bad.”

Unidad Inmigrante joined fellow grassroots organizations Red de Solidaridad and Salt Lake Sanctuary Network at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church to host a dinner for the women and their families.

“We decided on a potluck because what better way (is there) to get other people to listen to Maria’s story than by sharing a plate of food,” Dominguez said. “Everyone contributed somehow, so this is a big community effort put together for our two mothers.”

Dominguez said Garcia is essentially "starting from scratch" in Guatemala, and the organizations are raising money for her family and Chavez’ family to help them get good head starts in their countries.

“With their deportation dates fast approaching, we want to do everything that we can to let them know that they have a community here in Salt Lake that loves them, that appreciates them, that cares for their family,” Dominguez said.


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