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Woman Facing Deportation Finds Sanctuary in Kalamazoo Church

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WMUK public media
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Supporters of Saheeda Nadeem speak out at First Congregational Church in downtown Kalamazoo. The church has offered sanctuary to Nadeem to avoid deportation.

A Michigan woman has moved into a church in the southwest part of the state in an effort to avoid being deported to Pakistan. 

Saheeda Nadeem moved into First Congregational Church in Kalamazoo Monday.

The 62-year-old was born in Pakistan, and then lived in Kuwait before moving to the U.S. 13 years ago.

She came to the U.S. legally but overstayed her visa. Nadeem hasn't been back to Pakistan in 40 years.

First Congregational unanimously voted to become a public sanctuary church last year.

Rev. Nathan Dannison says the congregation won't let ICE tear families apart.

A 2011 Immigration and Customs Enforcement memo says the agency's policy limits actions at places of worship, except in extreme cases.

ICE didn't immediately respond to the Kalamazoo Gazette's request for comment.

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