On March 10, Diocese of Newark clergy joined Senator Bob Menendez and a group of interfaith clergy from across New Jersey to support Catalino Guerrero, a 59-year-old grandfather facing possible deportation back to Mexico.
Many of the clergy had turned out on February 9 to support Guerrero as he met with federal immigration officials for the first time during the Trump Administration. At previous meetings during the Obama Administration Guerrero had been instructed to return in a year or two, but at the February 9 meeting he was instructed to return on March 10 and be prepared to surrender his passport.
While Guerrero and his lawyer met with immigration officials inside the Federal Building, his supporters held a vigil and press conference on the sidewalk outside in the middle of a snow storm, chanting "Hear us now as we pray – let him stay, let him stay," and "Build community, not a wall."
The Rev. J. Brent Bates, Rector of Grace Church, Newark located next to the Federal Building, opened the church as a warming station for supporters and media.
Menendez, along with Cardinal Joseph Tobin of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, spoke to the media in both Spanish and English. They both noted that Guerrero is a homeowner and taxpayer with no criminal record.
Guerrero's request for a one-year stay of removal was denied. Instead, he was granted a two-month stay and told to return for another meeting with immigration officials in May.
In addition to Bates, Diocese of Newark clergy who participated were:
The Rev. John Mennell and the Rev. Tom Laws of St. Luke's, Montclair
The Rev. Diana Wilcox of Christ Church, Bloomfield/Glen Ridge
The Rev. Joseph Harmon of Epiphany & Christ Church, Orange
The Rev. Dr. Canon Sandye Wilson of St. Andrew & Holy Communion, South Orange
The Rev. Gary Commins of Incarnation, Jersey City
The Rev. Deacon Erik Soldwedel of St. Paul's, Paterson
The Rev. Willie Smith of Trinity, Cliffside Park
Several lay members of the Diocese of Newark also particioated.
Bishop Mark Beckwith and Canon Greg Jacobs, who participated in the February 9 event, were both out of state at various meetings of The Episcopal Church and not able to participate on March 10.
The vigil and press conference received extensive media coverage. Associated Press coverage was published across the coutry. See the links below for a selection of articles, videos and photos.