For the past two years, Ingrid Encalada Latorre has called the Unitarian Universalist Church in Boulder, Colorado, home. It is also the place where the undocumented Peruvian immigrant gave birth to her third child just a few weeks ago.
It’s been a long road for the 36-year-old woman who has sought sanctuary at various churches since 2016. In many ways, however, her fight to remain in this country began when she first arrived in the United States at 17 when she used documents that were against the law to obtain work. The information she used belonged to a felon and she got embroiled in the mess, which ultimately cost her her freedom. Yet still, the wife, and mother of three remains hopeful with the birth of her daughter.
“Having a baby is always a light of life,” Latorre said in an interview with The Daily Beast. “I am excited to have my beautiful baby girl and my two sons, who I love very much. My life continues, and this broken system will not stop my fight to keep my family together.”
Latorre gave natural birth after 15 hours with the help of a midwife, though Rev. Eric Posa, the interim minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder, explained that they weren’t aware of what she planned to do until the very last minute. There were discussions about whether or not she would give birth in the hospital, but ultimately they knew it would be too risky to leave the church.
While it is widely known that certain areas are off-limits to immigration agents including schools, churches, and hospitals, the latter location hasn’t stopped ICE from showing up. Under the Trump Administration, ICE agents have detained undocumented immigrants en route to the hospital and at the medical facilities.
Last week, Ingrid Latorre gave birth inside a Colorado church where the local faith community is protecting her.
We met in the church rec room where she went into labor.
If we had a functioning immigration system w/ real paths to citizenship, we wouldn’t have to live like this. https://t.co/bnL2zEBrjs
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 23, 2019
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also visited Latorre last month before she gave birth to bring awareness to the broken immigration policies that we have in place. “Last week, Ingrid Latorre gave birth inside a Colorado church where the local faith community is protecting her,” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “We met in the church rec room where she went into labor. If we had a functioning immigration system with a real path to citizenship, we wouldn’t have to live like this.”
Latorre’s bravery isn’t just that she gave birth inside a church, or that she’s been living in fear of deportation for years. It’s that through all of her struggles, she continues to be an advocate for herself, her children, and other undocumented immigrants.
“In a system that would tell people that they are less human than those who are native-born citizens—and especially those of us with white skin—and in a system that would actively discourage the rest of us as treating Ingrid and others like her as fully human, she decided not to limit and pare down her life, but to expand her family,” Rev. Eric Posa told the Daily Beast. “Ingrid knows full well the dangers and the perils of her situation, and it is such a commitment to life to make a choice to grow her family and to bring new life into the world.”