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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Nov 2006

    Churches aiding targeted families

    Churches aiding targeted families
    Movement grows nationwide to help immigrants at risk of deportation
    06/25/2007 02:44:19 AM PDT

    Houses of worship are circling the wagons around an estimated 12 million immigrants at risk of deportation nationwide in a sweeping partnership called the New Sanctuary Movement.
    In the East Bay, more than 10 congregations have agreed to provide housing, legal, financial or child care help to targeted families. Officials haven't released the names of the participating houses of worship, but expect to in early July.

    As many as 100 congregations have expressed an interest in participating, said the Rev. Sharon Brostrum, regional coordinator.

    Interfaith organizations launched the New Sanctuary Movement in Los Angeles, New York and San Diego on May 9.

    Clergy announced the Bay Area link-up at a San Jose press conference earlier this month just as the doomed federal immigration reform bill came up for air.

    The bill, since buoyed by an extra $4.4 billion in border security, would introduce a "guest worker" program that would require trips back and forth to the country of origin. It also would penalize companies that hire illegal immigrants. The undocumented could obtain legal status, but at a cost of $5,000. And family ties would no longer be given primary weight in determining eligibility. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill before the July 4 recess.

    Regardless of the immigration bill, the federal Operation Return to Sender netted 13,000 arrests nationwide from June to January, according to government figures. The program targeted those with criminal backgrounds, but allowed "collateral" arrests of anyone else present whose legal status was unresolved.

    In shielding those at risk of deportation, "We have a veryspecific covenant," said the Rev. Carol Been, Northern California director of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice.

    Part of that covenant is that the families who receive sanctuary will agree to go public.

    "The mantra of 'They broke the law' has been in the media so much that the human face is getting lost," Been said. "We have people who are quite heroic who are willing to stand up and be one of those human faces.

    "Families are getting torn apart, the victims of legalese — citizen children torn from their parents," she said. "Most have had lawyers who cheated them. In a nation in which family values are at the top of the list and hard work is prized, we feel we have to stand with them."

    Speaking publicly will not place the families in danger because they will have mounted a legal challenge with the help of the congregations. That puts deportation proceedings on hold, Brostrum said.

    The coalition is guarding the identity of one family whose case is to be heard in the Ninth District Court of Appeals in early July, as well as the name of the Concord church providing sanctuary.

    "Those who willfully violate U.S. immigration laws face the consequences of their actions," says a prepared statement issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It did not address religious sanctuary directly.

    But ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said many of the people targeted for deportation received notices and ignored them.

    Others "have been litigating for years," she said. "They've had abundant access to due process."

    Contra Costa faith leaders say residents like Norma Mejia are more typical of those who run afoul of immigration laws.

    Mejia's husband was on his way home from work when agents arrested him with a deportation order. The Richmond man was transported to a federal detention center in Eloy, Ariz. For two weeks, his wife, who was born in the United States, did not know where he was.

    "I got him back, but it cost me a lot," she said. "Now, he just works and comes home. He feels afraid and sad."

    In another case, a 22-year resident applied for an update to his green card and found himself arrested instead, Brostrum said.

    This sanctuary movement differs from the movement of the 1980s, when churches housed asylum seekers from El Salvador and other Latin American countries where juntas routinely suppressed human rights.

    "In that case, people were leaving their countries in fear for their lives," Been said. "Now we have people who have been here for 22 years."

    Religious leaders have organized and played an increasingly vocal role in the debate over immigration.

    - Sojourners, a national faith-based advocacy organization, has launched a campaign to draw attention to the plight of tomato pickers, whose wages have not risen in 30 years, and whose working conditions are so severe the U.S. Department of Justice prosecuted growers for slavery conditions five times since 1997.

    - More than 30 priests, pastors, imams and rabbis gathered at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles in May to ask lawmakers to map a feasible path to citizenship. They also announced their intention to shelter two Central American men from deportation.

    - Members of the Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Committee in May testified before a Senate committee about deportation's devastating effects on residents, including the Mejias.

    Rebecca Rosen Lum covers religion. Reach her at (925) 977-8506 or ... ci_6223660

  2. #2
    Senior Member dragonfire's Avatar
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    May 2006
    Lehigh Acres, Fl
    The failure or refusal of ICE to remove Elvira Arellano from the church in Chicago has done nothing but embolden these organizations. Soon the issue with religious organizations and churches aiding and abetting illegal aliens will be as great a problem as illegal immigration itself. It will not be long before we will see these groups actively hiding illegal aliens and actively obstructing law enforcement operations. Again we are witness to the results of failing to enforce the laws.
    Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!

  3. #3
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    Apr 2006
    reno, nev
    Ministers are behind the suit brought on behalf of the 4 million anchor babies not to deport their parents.
    Shouldn't ministers be law-abiding citizens in immitation of Christ and encourage these people to obey the laws of our country, because it does not conflict with God's law, to go back to their countires and to through legal chanels to enter into this o****ry? Instead of encouraageing them to continue to break laws and they themselves by aiding them.You know, pay back Ceasars things to Ceasar and God's things to God.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Cliffdid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Why don't they send them to be taken care of in the churches of their homeland?

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