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Rose soccer rallies for teammate whose dad faces deportation

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Daniel Oliver Perez, center, with his mother and father, Samuel Oliver-Bruno, left.

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Saturday, December 16, 2017

The J.H. Rose High School soccer team is holding a fundraiser Saturday in support of a player whose father has taken sanctuary in a Durham church to avoid deportation to Mexico.

Samuel Oliver-Bruno, 46, was under orders from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to return to Mexico on Sunday but instead moved into the CityWell United Methodist Church in Durham, according to the Associated Press. 

Four other churches in the Triangle area have sheltered people facing deportation, the Associated Press reported. ICE has an internal policy of not entering churches, schools and hospitals.

Bruno’s son, Daniel Oliver-Perez, is a member of the Rose soccer team, and his coach and teammates traveled with him to the CityWell Church on Wednesday for a news conference announcing Oliver-Bruno’s decision to take sanctuary in the church, according to Viribiana Martinez of Alerta Migratoria, an Triangle-based advocacy group that arranged the sanctuary.

Martinez said Oliver-Bruno will live at CityWell indefinitely until ICE delays his deportation or the government finds a way for him to obtain legal status. 

“Supporters of Oliver-Bruno’s family and Daniel’s teachers, teammates and classmates request that ICE exercise favorable prosecutorial discretion and stay Samuel Oliver-Bruno’s deportation,” Martinez said.

Oliver-Bruno moved to Greenville in 1994 and has worked steadily in construction, including doing drywall and insulation work, Martinez said. He’s the sole provider for his wife, who has lupus, and his son. He also plays guitar during worship services at local churches.

Oliver-Bruno and his wife came to the United States without documentation; their son was born here. 

“ICE will make me a high school dropout if they don’t stop my dad’s deportation,” Oliver-Perez said in a news release from Alerta Migratoria. “Who will take care of my mom if my dad is gone? Who will take care of me and give me the support I need to go to college?”

Community members, teachers and classmates of Oliver-Perez will gather at the Rose soccer fields from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a family-friendly World Cup soccer tournament. World Cup is a soccer game that involves multiple two-person teams.

Admission is $1 to watch the tournament and $10 for each team that wants to play.

Funds raised by the team and from admission and concession sales will help the family with legal fees to fight deportation, and with living and medical expenses, Martinez said.