Portland activist leaving sanctuary for Fairview home

Portland activist leaving sanctuary for Fairview home

PORTLAND, Ore. -- After 80 days, activist Francisco Aguirre is headed home.

He has been seeking sanctuary inside Augustana Lutheran Church in Portland and said now he is ready to go back to his home in Fairview.

Aguirre said he'll be leaving the Northeast Portland church Monday afternoon. He's been living there since September.

He is accused of illegally coming back into the United States after he was deported to El Salvador.

In August, he was stopped for drunk driving and federal agents attempted to detain him, but he sought sanctuary at the church instead.

On Sunday there was a celebration at the church because Aguirre said Immigration and Customs Enforcement has now "de-prioritized his detention."

He told KGW he couldn't say much more about his case, just that he now feels safe enough to go home.

Background: Judge orders release of immigration activist Aguirre

"It's a gift from the community, from church sanctuary, you know?" Aguirre said. "And everyone who has stood up in my support. They've just given me this great gift. It's all joy, all happiness." "

"We're ready to go the distance for years to come," said Reverend Mark Knutson with Augustana Lutheran Church. "The church remains sanctuary. We don't know who will be next, but we know there are other mosques, synagogues and temples who are also willing to do this across this nation."

Aguirre will still have to appear in court next month.

But he said as of Monday at 4 p.m. he will be headed home.


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