A new report reveals how churches nationwide are harboring illegal immigrants, helping them evade federal immigration orders for deportation.
In a 60 Minutes special report, more than 800 churches are acting as mini-sanctuary jurisdictions to hide illegal immigrants from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
ICE has a long-standing policy in which agents do not detain illegal immigrants at churches, making the facilities an ideal spot to avoid deportation orders.
In a Buffalo, New York, church profiled, parish staff confirmed that they recently harbored an illegal alien family of four from Honduras. Since January, the church officials said it protected more than 40 migrants.
Rev. Robin Hynicka of Philadelphia’s Arch Street Methodist Church explained how he believes enforcing federal immigration laws are oppressive to illegal immigrants who remain in the U.S.
“It’s injustice and oppression, all of which is evil,” Hynicka said. “Yeah, when a human being’s human rights are denied, when they can’t stay with their family, when they can’t work, when they can’t participate in the community in which they have deep roots, all of those apply.”
In one specific case, Hynicka’s church has been harboring Javier Flores Garcia, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who came to the U.S. in 1997. Garcia was arrested and convicted for drunk driving, and despite an immigration judge ordering him be deported, he remains hiding out in Arch Street Methodist Church.
ICE’s Deputy Director Daniel Ragsdale did not back down to his agency’s responsibility to enforce federal immigration law and protect Americans, despite questioning from 60 Minute’s Scott Pelley.
Scott Pelley: How much concern do you have about separating families in deportations?
Daniel Ragsdale: As a human being, I know it is traumatic for folks. But I will also say that the Rule of Law is something that America is built on. But this seems to be the one area where the narrative about separating families, you know, sort of gets a little bit ratcheted up.
Scott Pelley: Well, you can understand why.
Daniel Ragsdale: Well, I can. But I would suggest that every person who has, you know, come to the United States illegally, just like if I went somewhere and, you know, resided in violation of law, I could expect at some point that sovereign country to want to remove me.
Last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a letter to 10 sanctuary cities, demanding they stop obstructing federal immigration agents from being able to deport criminal illegal immigrants. Sessions said that if sanctuary cities do not eventually comply with federal law, they could see a loss in federal grant money.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.