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Threats pouring in toward Kalamazoo church harboring woman facing deportation

Threats pouring in toward Kalamazoo church harboring illegal immigrant.

There are safety concerns at a downtown Kalamazoo church trying to shield an woman from being deported to Pakistan.

Pastor Nathan Dannison says threats against Saheeda Nadeem, 63, are pouring in and many of those threats are coming from social media.

Dannison told Newschannel 3’s Franque Thomson that there are threats of violence against the immigrant woman and threats of vandalism against the church.

Dannison said, “Some of it just breaks my heart to hear it.”

At the pulpit of the First Congregational Church is a bible scripture that mentions people will say evil things to others for their belief in a higher power and Dannison says his church is seeing those evil thoughts now.

Dannison says threats have been made on their social media pages for providing sanctuary to Nadeem from deportation.

He said, “We have had some threats. We've had people on the internet say that they want to raid the church and drag her out into the street.”

Even on Newschannel 3’s Facebook page many people made comments saying everyone at the church should be arrested for harboring a fugitive, referring to Nadeem.

Dannison said, “The internet makes it incredibly easy for people to just put their stuff out there. Most of it has been very uninformed.”

Even with all the bad, Dannison says just as many people have been showing good. Many going to the church to voice their support of sanctuary.

Dannison said, “We've been getting emails from all over the country not only from Christians, but from people of other faith saying, ‘Thank you, thank you for staying so close to the path of Jesus Christ.’ It's been an amazing witness and testimony for us.”

A testimony he says the church will continue by believing in a higher powers and doing what's right, no matter what is said.

Dannison said, “There is a huge legacy at work here and we're going to carry that legacy forward. We won't be dissuaded by the current political goofiness that's going on.”

Many people on social media have said she should have obtained her U.S. citizenship during the 13 years she's been here.

Dannison says she's tried to apply.

He said, “For folks who are ever, ever, ever found to be in this country illegally, even if it's just for one day, they can never become a U.S. citizen. Doesn't matter if they marry a U.S. citizen, doesn't matter if they have a child who’s a U.S. citizen.”

The Inquilla Law Firm handles immigration cases in West Michigan.

Daniel Inquilla said, “There could be this one little thing that happened in your life, in your immigration history and your personal life that could just throw a wrench in the whole process and you still don't end up getting the green card for example.”

Inquilla says the process for green cards and citizenship isn't as easy as people think. He explains a case he's working on now.

“Because siblings of U.S. citizens are one of the lowest priorities in our system, there was a 20 year wait for him to be able to actually finish the process that his sister started for him in the late 90’s,” he said. “You break it down even further; if you're from certain countries there's even a longer wait because there's a limit on the number of people from individual countries that can be approved every year.”

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