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Thread: ICE has dropped off 5,000 migrant family members at local churches in two months

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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    ICE has dropped off 5,000 migrant family members at local churches in two months

    ICE has dropped off 5,000 migrant family members at local churches in the past two months



    A Phoenix church helps migrants

    Federal immigration authorities have been releasing large groups of migrant families from Central America at local churches because they don't have the capacity to hold them. But two months after ICE began releasing the families, and with no end in sight, the churches are becoming overwhelmed. On Nov. 30, 2018, ICE released 60 families, totaling about 130 men, women and children, at Casa de Oracion Number 2, a Hispanic church in north Phoenix. The pastor greeted the families as they got off Department of Homeland Security buses, taking their first steps in the United States.

    Daniel González, Arizona Republic
    Published 9:42 p.m. MT Nov. 30, 2018 | Updated 1:15 p.m. MT Dec. 1, 2018


    (Photo: Nick Oza/The Republic)

    Federal immigration authorities have released about 2,500 Central American families at Hispanic churches in the Phoenix area over the past two months, totaling more than 5,000 people, according to one pastor.

    The families had recently crossed the border illegally in southwestern Arizona, which has become one of the most popular entry points for a growing wave of migrant families arriving at the southern border seeking refuge in the United States.


    Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials began releasing large groups of migrant families at local churches in mid-October before the large caravan of more than 5,000 Central Americans arrived in Tijuana in November.


    The migrant caravan has drawn international attention, and prompted President Donald Trump to deploy thousands of active-duty military soldiers to help secure the U.S.-Mexico border.


    The arrival of migrant families arriving at the border has not drawn similar national attention.


    In fiscal year 2018, which ended Sept. 30, the Border Patrol apprehended more than 107,000 migrants arriving as families.

    That was a 42 percent increase from the year before, U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics show.


    Migrant families made up about 25 percent of the total 396,579 Border Patrol apprehensions in the last fiscal year.

    Despite the spike in migrant families arriving at the southern border, mostly from impoverished and violence-racked countries in Central America, Border Patrol apprehensions remain at the lowest levels in four decades.


    ICE officials say the agency lacks the capacity to hold the growing wave of migrant families crossing the border daily in southwestern Arizona, which is why they have begun releasing them to local churches in Phoenix and to non-profit groups in the Tucson and, for a while, in Yuma.


    Under a legal settlement known as the Flores agreement, immigration authorities cannot hold families in detention centers for more than 20 days.


    But since the large-scale release of families began here in October, ICE officials have refused to provide data on the number of migrant families released.

    On Tuesday, immigration authorities dropped off about 60 families at the Greyhound bus station in Phoenix, instead of at local churches as they had been.


    The release of so many families at the bus station attracted renewed media attention to the release of migrant families. But it has been going on quietly for weeks, said Magdalena Schwartz, a pastor in Mesa who has been helping coordinate with ICE the release of families to local churches.


    Schwartz estimated ICE has released about 2,500 families to local churches since mid-October, totaling about 5,000 men, women and children.


    ICE spokeswoman Yasmeen Pitts O'Keefe declined to verify the numbers provided by Schwartz.


    Federal immigration authorities have been releasing large groups of migrant families from Central America at local churches in Phoenix. Nick Oza, The Republic | azcentral.com

    Heading toward family

    The families being released by ICE have relatives in the United States and are headed to rejoin them in other parts of the country, Schwartz said. The churches provide temporary shelter to migrant families until they can make their own travel arrangements, usually by bus.

    The families typically stay at the churches or in congregants' homes no more than a day or two, she said.


    But with no end in sight to the release of migrant families by ICE, the churches are becoming overwhelmed, Schwartz said.

    Most of the churches are made up of congregations of working immigrant families with limited resources, she said.


    "Yes, it's overwhelming because we don't have the resources," Schwartz said. "We don't have the financial resources to be doing this. ... The government doesn't give us money for this. Just the people's hearts."


    MORE: Migrant caravan update: What we know now


    Schwartz said ICE officials called her Tuesday morning to alert her that the agency was about to release a large number of families at the bus station because they lacked the capacity to hold them all and didn't have time to drive them to local churches.


    Schwartz called several pastors who scrambled to find people willing to drive to the bus station and bring the families back to their churches, she said.


    About 10 churches in the Phoenix area, most of them with Hispanic congregations and Spanish-speaking pastors, have been providing temporary shelter to migrant families since Oct. 13, she said.


    She said the churches who are aiding migrant families released by ICE are not trying to encourage people to come to the United States illegally.


    But as Christians, they feel compelled to provide humanitarian assistance once they have been released, she said.


    "If every pastor preaches the gospel of Jesus, we have to follow what Jesus preached," she said. "If Jesus was here in this situation, in this humanitarian crisis, what would he do?"


    Aid at local churches


    On Friday, ICE resumed dropping off migrant families at churches.

    Two Department of Homeland Security buses and two vans pulled into the parking lot of Casa de Oracion No. 2, a small Hispanic church in north Phoenix, about 10 a.m.


    The pastor, Ramon Madrid, and about a dozen members of his congregation, were waiting for them. They huddled in prayer before the doors of the buses opened, then rushed over to greet the families as they climbed off, taking their first steps in the United States in freedom.


    "Welcome. God bless you," Madrid said in Spanish, shaking the hand of each parent who got off the bus, each accompanied by a child ranging in age from a few months old to teenagers.


    They carried papers given to them before being released by ICE that instructed them to report to immigration offices once they reach their final destination in the United States.


    Many also wore ICE-issued electronic GPS monitoring devices on their ankles.


    The migrants filed into a large room, where church congregants served them served bowls of bean soup and warm tortillas wrapped in aluminum foil.


    The migrant families were then invited to walk outside and help themselves to clothing and shoes piled on tables.


    MORE: About 4,000 troops to remain at U.S. border through January


    The vast majority of the migrant families dropped off at the church on Friday came from Guatemala, based on a show of hands. The remainder came from Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico.


    One mother with a 5-year-old boy said she was from Venezuela.


    Madrid said ICE has been dropping off large groups of migrant families at his church at least once a week and sometimes several times a week since mid-October. The largest group was 70 families, more than 160 people.


    The congregation has been collecting clothing and shoes to hand out to the migrant families and donating money to buy food and bottled water.


    Madrid said it has been difficult for the church to keep up with the constant arrival of more families. Several times the church has run out of food.


    "But every time we run out, God provides more," he said. "It happened last week. We didn't have any more stuff and Pastor Magdalena called me and said, 'We have more people. It's an emergency.' I said, 'Go ahead and send them.'


    "The next day, we had a lot of donations come into the church and provided everything I needed."


    Madrid said he doesn't know how much longer the congregation can keep providing shelter to the migrant families. But, for now, he has no plans to stop.


    Building showers


    When the families first started arriving, the church brought in three recreational vehicles belonging to congregants so that they could shower.

    When it became evident that the families would keep coming, the church constructed four showers next to the small building where the migrants eat and sleep.


    The materials to build the showers alone cost $3,000. Congregants donated the labor, he said.


    On Friday, a group of six members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints from the West Valley also arrived at the church to help serve food.


    Christy Bishop said the Mormon Church's Immigration Services Initiative has been collecting donations to buy personal hygiene supplies, toys and clothing to pass out to the migrant families released by ICE.


    Bishop said she wanted to help because she is also an immigrant, who came to the United States from South Africa.


    "I feel compassion for these people who are making sacrifices for a better life," she said. "That's the American Dream."


    Her husband, Dan Bishop, is a doctor. He spent several hours in a room examining children, who stood in a long line with their parents, sneezing and coughing, sick with colds and respiratory infections they caught during the journey.


    Bishop said he wanted to make sure none of them had illnesses that required hospital care.


    Elvira Cux-Benito, 34, said she crossed the border illegally near San Luis Rio Colorado, south of Yuma, on Tuesday after traveling from Guatemala through Mexico by bus with her two children, Sandra, 8 and Juan 7 and her 16-year-old brother, Jose Alfredo.


    She was worried about her brother. She said for some reason he was not released by ICE along with her and her two children. She didn't know where he was.


    She said her family was quickly apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol agents after crossing illegally and then held in a processing center near Yuma for two days before being taken to Phoenix on Thursday evening.


    Unlike many Central American migrants who say they are fleeing violence in their home countries, Cux-Benito said she came for economic reasons. She is from Zacualpa, an indigenous village in the state of Quiche.


    Cux-Benito said she was headed to Maryland, where she planned to reunite with her husband. He has been living for the past four years near Baltimore, working in construction. Once in Maryland, she hoped to also get a job to earn money to send back to her ailing parents in Guatemala.

    https://www.azcentral.com/story/news...es/2156585002/

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
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    This is infuriating!

    Send them home!
    TO BECOME AN AMERICAN YOU MUST CHANGE YOUR VALUES ...NOT YOUR LOCATION

    STAY HOME AND BUILD AMERICA ON YOUR SOIL

  3. #3
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.


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  4. #4
    MW
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    President Trump and DHS Secretary Nielsen have no answers for this?
    stoptheinvaders and Beezer like this.

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    NO AMNESTY

    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.


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  6. #6
    MW
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    But since the large-scale release of families began here in October, ICE officials have refused to provide data on the number of migrant families released.
    Of course they have. I'm sure orders from the top have directed DHS to keep the American public in the dark as much as possible on their very active CATCH & RELEASE program!
    stoptheinvaders and Beezer like this.

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

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  7. #7
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.


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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.


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  9. #9
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.


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