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North Carolina Man Entrapped At Church for Deportation


One North Carolina man—Samuel Oliver-Bruno—who was arrested as he left a sanctuary church to meet immigration officials has made news headlines of late. Church members and faith leaders protested his arrest, forming a human wall around the vehicle taking him to detention, and were arrested alongside the man, without incident. It has a number of citizens concerned about how far Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has gone to arrest and deport certain individuals.  This includes North Carolina Reps. David Price and G.K. Butterfield, who condemned the arrest as a setup.

Authorities targeted this man and others as part of what ICE calls a “targeted enforcement action,” whereby the agency justifies targeting certain individuals for deportation if they are considered by the agency to be “criminals,” regardless of the severity or class of crime. In this case, Oliver-Bruno had an appointment with USCIS immigration officials to be fingerprinted and discuss a petition to delay his deportation, but instead, ICE arrested him immediately.

His Story

Oliver-Bruno came to the U.S. to live in Greenville over 20 years ago, and was arrested in 2014 after attempting to enter the U.S. using a Texas birth certificate. He lived at CityWell United Methodist Church in Durham for almost a year, as ICE, historically, did not arrest individuals at locations such as houses of worship. He has a history of helping with building projects at the church, as well as a son and wife who suffers from Lupus and a number of other medical conditions. He is also an aspiring Baptist minister, and was studying at Duke University’s Divinity School.

Churches No Longer Sanctuaries

Oliver-Bruno’s arrest has a number of citizens concerned that houses of worship are no longer safe as sanctuaries. A number of people are also concerned that ICE is also coordinating with officials at USCIS, who set up an appointment with Oliver-Bruno to discuss deferred deportation. Instead, he will now face immediate deportation.

How Is This Entrapment?

Many are calling Oliver-Bruno the victim of entrapment, as he was tricked into going in to see legal authorities for immigration services, and, instead, arrested. Oliver-Bruno’s past “criminal record” was simply the result of him attempting to secure his citizenship in the U.S. after being here a number of years. In North Carolina, entrapment is an affirmative defense to a crime; however, a defendant must first show that they were induced into committing a crime by law enforcement officers and that government officials came up with the “criminal design” behind the trap.

Contact Our North Carolina Immigration & Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you are here on an immigration visa and potentially facing deportation due to a criminal issue, contact our experienced North Carolina immigration and criminal defense attorneys at the office of Hauter Law Firm, PC today to find out how we can help.


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