Jul 15, 2019

Churches offer sanctuary and support to immigrants over ICE raids

El Calvario Methodist Church in Las Cruces, New Mexico, has been housing asylum-seekers released by ICE. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Religious and community leaders across the U.S. are rallying for immigrants, AP reports, as they braced Sunday for President Trump’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids to take effect.

Details: Churches in Houston offered sanctuary to anyone worried they might be arrested, while activists in Miami gave out fliers outside churches to inform immigrants of their rights, per AP. Some parishioners in New Jersey were being advised what to do if ICE agents came knocking, according USA Today.

We’re living in a time where the law may permit the government to do certain things but that doesn’t necessarily make it right."
— Rev. John Celichowski of St. Clare de Montefalco Parish, Chicago, statement to AP

The big picture: A small number of raids on undocumented migrant families occurred over the weekend ahead of ICE targeting some 2,000 immigrants, per the New York Times. Officials said immigration enforcement actions in Houston and New Orleans had been suspended because of Tropical Storm Barry. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted that he stands "with every Houstonian regardless of immigration status."

  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted there had been no ICE activity in the Big Apple Sunday, but there were "3 confirmed situations involving ICE operations" Saturday. No arrests were made, he said.
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said LA would not be coordinating with ICE.

Go deeper: Trump isn't matching Obama deportation numbers

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680 immigrants arrested in Mississippi ICE raids

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers gather for a debriefing after operations in 2018. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

680 immigrants were arrested Wednesday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents at 7 food processing plants in small towns in Mississippi, the AP reports.

Why it matters: ICE Acting Director Matthew Albence said these could be the largest workplace raids ICE has had in more than a decade, and likely the biggest for any single state, per the AP. This comes just a few weeks after ICE raids that reportedly targeted thousands of immigrants resulted in just 35 arrests. ICE detention facilities still hold thousands more migrants than Congress has approved funding for.

Religion is fueling a new wave of immigration activism

Protestors on July 16, 2018. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Never Again Action, a Jewish activist organization formed last month, led a protest of hundreds on Tuesday that closed ICE's headquarters in Washington, D.C., for several hours, NBC reports.

Why it matters: Religion is fueling a new wave of immigration activism. Clergy members rallied for immigrants from their pulpits over the weekend, offering sanctuary as ICE carried out a small number of raids on undocumented migrant families. Never Again Action, which has organized over 1,000 protestors at more than 10 events this summer, is led by mostly young Jews.

Go deeperArrowJul 17, 2019

Lutheran denomination claims it is the first "sanctuary church body"

An undocumented mother of four stands in the First Unitarian Society Church in Colorado in 2017, after taking refuge to avoid ICE officers. Photo: Chris Schneider/AFP/Getty Images

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the largest Lutheran denomination in the U.S., announced Wednesday that it had voted to become a "sanctuary church body" for undocumented immigrants, claiming to be the first North American denomination to do so.

What it means: Sanctuary cities and counties, the most frequently designated areas to dub themselves as "sanctuaries," "generally describe places that limit how local law enforcement can cooperate with federal immigration agents," per the New York Times.

Go deeperArrowAug 9, 2019