Friday, October 03, 2014

177.2 - Good News: churches offering sanctuary to undocumented immigrants

Good News: churches offering sanctuary to undocumented immigrants

This next taste of Good News arises from some Not Good News from an unsurprising source: the White House, where President Hopey-Changey proved once again that he's a gutless wonder when facing opponents he can't hit with drones. Obama had promised to take executive action on immigration reform but then just as he has done on other issues (think Keystone XL pipeline) crumpled in the fact of right-wing grumbling and decided to put off any decision until after the elections, at which point he'll be able to judge how politically safe things are for the rest of his term in office.

The Good News is that in the face of his failure, others are stepping up. Specifically, churches in Illinois, Colorado, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and other places. In a resurgence of the sort of activism that marked the opposition to the wars in Central America during the Reagan administration, at least 40 churches are offering sanctuary to specific undocumented immigrants -  some of who have been in the US for 10 years or more - but who now are facing imminent deportation.

Immigration & Customs Enforcement - with the appropriate acronym ICE - has a policy against arresting undocumented immigrants at “sensitive locations such as schools and churches”  unless there is some specific reason related to violations of criminal law. Even so, there is some risk to the churches: If ICE decides the heck with the rules, we're going to crack down, some church members, hypothetically at least, could be charged with harboring a fugitive.

Still, Rev. Julian DeShazier, minister of one of the churches involved, said that, quoting,
The church has a responsibility to the law when the law is moral, and upholds human dignity. When it is not, we have a responsibility to call attention to that.
And it is good news that there are still people willing to say - and do - just that.

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