The Churches Which Offer Sanctuary From ICE
Ordered Deported, Then Sent a $497,777 Fine From ICE (Goes to the New York Times)
Trump’s ICE is now going after undocumented immigrants who are being sheltered by churches.
The headline refers to a woman talking about being sheltered inside a Mennonite Church. There are several other people’s stories receiving these letters in the article.
Apparently ICE is calculating a fine of nearly $800 a day and sending it to people in such sanctuary, trying to intimidate both them and the churches in question.
A group who tracks such people for legal defence thinks there are about twenty such cases, and are organising a class action suit claiming this amounts to an excessive fine under the VIII Amendment.
ICE is trying to intimidate churches which do this to stop offering sanctuary. As of yet, ICE has not raided a church.
So far it seems few people outside the churches in question are aware the Republican administration is trying to strongarm churches into throwing such people on the street so they can collect them, though NPR did an article on this
Fugitives from ICE: A Family Finds Sanctuary in a Pennsylvania Church (a United Methodist Church in this case, the article from March 7)
as did Voice of America:
More Undocumented Immigrants Are Living in US Sanctuary Churches (a Unitaritan-Universalist Church, possibly the first known person to do this, from January 29)
There is a group which will help a church navigate the issues if its congregants or pastors wish to provide sanctuary for migrants from ICE.
Sanctuary Movement (goes to the Baptist Joint Committee). They note that a church can put itself in danger of government legal or enforcement action if the GOP goes full fascist.
“Sanctuary” is not a legal term and provides no legal protection for the institution. A “sanctuary church” intentionally ministers to the undocumented community, which may include providing physical shelter for those facing detention or deportation. If a congregation determines that providing sanctuary is consistent with its theology and ministry, there are numerous practical and legal issues to consider. Read this column from BJC Associate General Counsel Jennifer Hawks for additional background.
The BJC created a printable handout with answers to a few common questions that churches may have when considering whether to provide sanctuary. It is not legal advice and does not substitute for consultation with an attorney.