Important Update on Today's Events - Samuel Detained by ICE & 8 CityWellers Arrested

Becoming a people who receive the ways of Jesus as our way of life, for the sake of his glory and for the sake of the world.

CityWell family and friends,

As you may have heard, today was one of the most challenging days in the life of CityWell. After nearly 1 year of living in Sanctuary at CityWell, Samuel was arrested by ICE and many in the CityWell family were also arrested for civil disobedience as they tried to prevent Samuel’s detention. We want to keep everyone up to date with the current situation and ask for your support.

Here is what happened today

Samuel was asked to report to a federal office in Morrisville, NC for an appointment on November 23rd to provide a biometrics scan that is required to process his application to remain the US.

Samuel decided to attend the appointment because this was his only option to remain active in the immigration process.  Throughout the morning and up to the moment of arrest, Samuel was surrounded by the public assembly and sanctuary of his church.  Tragically, our worst fears came to pass as ICE officers in plain clothes were waiting for Samuel to arrive and arrested him soon after he stepped into the building.  Samuel’s son, Daniel, was also arrested under the allegation that he assaulted an ICE officer.

Of great concern is that Samuel’s arrest was a major departure from ICE policy to avoid enforcement actions in sensitive locations. Samuel was surrounded by his church community and a large public demonstration of support. ICE policy specifically states that churches and public demonstrates are sensitive locations.

In an act of civil disobedience, Samuel’s supporters surrounded the ICE vehicle that was transporting him to the ICE detention facility.  Local police were called in and told the crowd to disperse. After two hours, local police began to arrest people, and Samuel was taken to the detention center.  In total, 29 people were arrested, nine of whom are part of the CityWell Family: Samuel and Daniel Oliver-Bruno, Corey Summers, Cleve May, Dave Swanson, Ismael Ruiz-Millan, Josh Kamrass, Michelle Jones, and Scott West.

The situation is is still developing. Here is what we know and don’t know about what will happen next

Samuel will be held at the ICE detention facility for the near term.  He has a team of lawyers working on his behalf. Furthermore, ICE agents are pressing charges against Daniel for the alleged assault. Samuel’s wife, Julia, is at a safe location and being cared for.

The remaining CityWellers that were arrested have been charged with misdemeanors and were released late this afternoon. They did not have to post bond money and will have to appear in court at a future date which is to be determined.

ICE agents are pressing misdemeanor charges against Daniel.  A non-profit legal aid organization has posted bond for Daniel and he will be able to go home pending his future court date.  Daniel is a US born citizen.

We do not know exactly what will happen next for Samuel.  We are establishing contact with Samuel’s legal team to learn more.  

CityWellers can plug in to support each other and the Oliver-Bruno family
  • Share Samuel’s story with your social networks

  • Attend a prayer meeting and family meeting at CityWell on November 25th, following the morning worship service

  • Donate financially to the Missional Giving fund at CityWell (click the link and select the "Missional Giving- Sanctuary" line) to support Samuel’s cause

  • Call your local congressional representatives and ask them to intervene on Samuel’s behalf

  • Upload any photo/video evidence and written personal accounts to this Google doc (document in real time!)


We will look forward to gathering on Sunday for a time of worship and witness, which both expresses our solidarity with Samuel and invites the Spirit to be Samuel’s advocate.  Until then, let us move with the Holy Spirit and be present to one another.

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2317 Chapel Hill Rd
Durham, NC 27707

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CityWell Church · 2317 Chapel Hill Rd. · Durham, NC 27707 · USA

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