Martinsville Church Devastated By Potential Deportation Of Parish Council Member
By Whitney Delbridge
Martinsville, VA - Members of a Martinsville church are heartbroken after immigration officials arrested one of their church leaders last week.They say Enrique Manriquez, a well-known good samaritan and father of three, is an illegal immigrant who has lived in the US for decades. Now, he is facing deportation.To anyone who has been touched by Manriquez, the news of his arrest is devastating."People here are just sick about this that our friend has been taken away from us like this, " said Father Mark White.White got the news last Wednesday from Manriquez's son that the parish council member had been taken away."We're all pretty bummed about it. It's kind of hard to keep your chin up too with this on your head and other things as well, " said Enrique Manriquez Jr.The elder Manriquez works in home improvement and spent his spare time volunteering at St. Joseph's Catholic Church with his children, who are all US citizens. Because of his arrest, he had to miss his youngest son's graduation."It was a big day for him. He was graduating from high school, of course you want your family there, " said Manriquez Jr.Whether it's fixing a leak or pruning a garden - church members say Manriquez has always been there with a helping hand.Now, church members are stepping up to help him.Earlier this week, they lined up outside the Roanoke City Jail where he had been taken, to pray and peacefully seek answers."You hear about it in the news but it's a whole lot harder when it affects somebody right here in your community that you knew, " said church member Jimmy McGarry.Father White says getting him released may be a shot in the dark. He believes the laws that took their friend away just don't make sense in this situation."We believe in miracles and we are praying for a miracle. It seems like that's what it's going to take, " said White.The church is collecting funds for the Manriquez family's legal defense. To donate, contact the church at (276) 638-4779.
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