A handful of churches in liberal urban cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, are offering to hide illegal immigrants if the Trump administration intensifies its efforts to enforce federal immigration law.
In a report posted by left-wing BuzzFeed News, outspoken men and women of the clergy openly admit that they will provide sanctuary to illegal immigrants from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
“We’re willing to take that risk because it is our call to justice, and this is how we live our faith,” Rev. Justo Gonzalez II, pastor of Pilgrim St. Luke’s in Buffalo said in an interview with BuzzFeed.
LA Voice, which bills itself as an “interfaith community” based out of Los Angeles, is even spearheading efforts to unite 200 places of worship, particularly churches, to provide sanctuary shelter to illegal immigrants to avoid deportation.
“I really feel like what we’re doing is what God would want us to do,” Rev. Zach Hoover, executive director for LA Voice, told BuzzFeed. “When you die, the question is not ‘Did you follow the government?’ and then you’re allowed into heaven,” he said. “It’s ‘Did you care for your neighbor?’”
BuzzFeed explains the group’s plan to help illegals evade the law.
The group is willing to not only to take undocumented immigrants, but to hide them in housing provided by their network of churches, mosques, and synagogues across Southern California. Hoover admits it’s a legal gray area and doesn’t discount the possibility of the federal government targeting groups like his in the future.
In Chicago, Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church is toying with the idea of a “public underground network that could move undocumented immigrants from church to church or into homes to keep them out of reach of federal officials.”
These church officials, serving mostly “progressive” congregations, appear to be exploiting ICE’s stated policy of sensitivity when it comes to infringing on spaces of worship.
“ICE lists churches as ‘sensitive locations’ that should be avoided unless circumstances require immediate action, or if there is prior approval from a site supervisor,” notes BuzzFeed.