NORTH HILLS (CBSLA) — A church in North Hills says they will be a sanctuary for anyone who fears being deported.
The president’s ICE crackdown was supposed to go down in at least 10 cities Sunday. And while the president said only those who have broken the law had reason for concern, the immigrant community was filled with people who believed the crackdown was really about rounding up anyone here undocumented.
The called it collateral deportation.
CBS2/KCAL9’s Greg Mills found one man at the Church of the Epiphany in North Hills who now considers the church his home — for now.
The Mexican man — who didn’t want to show his face or reveal his identity — said he was staying with an LA family until this past week.
The home was visited by ICE. He has no idea why ICE showed up but he said he was scared he’d be taken into custody and he took off.
“I’m illegal status because my visa expired,” he said, “the thing is, they can get me, too.” This man says he has lived in this country for ten years, without incident.
The Church of the Epiphany’s Fr. Tom Carey makes it clear he is not totally trusting that ICE is just going after known criminals.
“The administration lies,” says Fr. Carey, “They are not doing that. They are going after anybody they can get.”
If that is the case, the man from Mexico was smart to seek sanctuary here.
“The least we can do for these people,” says Fr. Carey, “is offer hospitality.”
“Now it’s a very hard time for immigrants with this administration,” the man from Mexico said.
Fr. Carey says if he is not at the church, his phone number is posted outside the church.
He said he sees offering help at this time the Christian thing to do.
A church in Lincoln Heights is also calling itself a place of sanctuary. And they are not alone.
Parishioners at the churches Mills visited used the word “terrorism” to describe what President Trump is doing to these immigrant family.
“I see this threat by Mr. Trump as an act of terrorism. He is terrorizing people who are undocumented,” says Pastor Fred Morris of the United Methodist Church Mission in North Hills.
Fr. Carey said it was his understanding that ICE considered churches, schools and hospital “sensitive zones” where arrests would not happen.
And Fr. Carey said he can’t be entirely sure the administration would stick to that policy either.
“They can violate it any time they want,” he says, “But I would hope they would not.”
Fr. Carey wanted to make it clear that the sanctuary offer is only for anyone in imminent danger of being arrested and deported.