ICE has been trying to charge immigrants who have been seeking sanctuary in churches.
Illegal immigrants have been trying to live in churches all across the country. This is something new from the Immigration and Nationality Act, which allows the government to hand out fines to immigrants who say they will leave the United States voluntarily but back up on their word.
Immigration lawyers say they have never seen this happen. One Immigration lawyer said, “None of us, myself and anyone in the immigration bar, had ever seen any attempt to assess this particular fine against anyone.” He continues saying, “By targeting people who had specifically taken refuge in religious institutions, it looks like a form of invidious selective enforcement.”
One of the first immigrants to be charge has been living in a church in Ohio for two years and was given almost half-a-million dollar fine.
Also, another immigrant has been living in a Congregational Church in Amherst, Massachusetts. He has been living there for two years as well and fears of leaving because he knows he would be deported back to Guatemala. To this day, he prays that the court will reopen his case so he can re-united with his family.
Another immigrant lives in a church in Charlottesville, Virginia with her 11-year-old son. She is also from Guatemala and one of the immigrants who faced the fines from ICE.
The list continues on and on:
- Columbus, Ohio
- Charlottesville, Virginia
- Mancos, Colorado
- Durham, North Carolina
- Austin, Texas
Each immigrant had been living in churches to avoid deportation and then started to face very expensive fines from ICE until they backed down. This is what is happening today.