In 2014, Vicky Chávez fled domestic abuse and violence in Honduras, seeking asylum in the United States. After her asylum application was denied, federal immigration officials ordered her to depart the United States voluntarily in 2018 or face deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Chavez was set to board a one-way flight to Honduras with her daughters, the youngest just 5 months old, but instead sought sanctuary inside the First United Unitarian Church in Salt Lake City, a sensitive location where immigration enforcement from ICE has traditionally been off-limits.
Chávez and her two children lived with the walls of the church for three years while appealing her deportation. Her hope was that the newly elected Biden Administration would give her immunity and allow her to live without fear of deportation.
These photographs were taken for a New York Times Op-Ed while Chávez and her children were still in limbo living inside the church. Two weeks later they were granted their freedom.