Preparing for ICE Raids: A Letter to Clergy


Dear clergy colleagues,

As you've heard, the Trump administration has announced that ICE raids on families will begin tomorrow. There has been no public statement about ICE showing up at churches, but it has happened before. One never quite knows what will actually happen or where, but in the spirit of "Be Prepared," here is some advice and information I've assembled today, in part from clergy in cities where the administration has *officially* threatened ICE raids, and in part from leaders at the teach-in on immigrant and refugee rights today at the cathedral in Boston. 

Please pass on to others as you see best. This list is being offered by me in my role as a colleague, not by the diocese or another official entity:

1. If the church doors are wide open, the space is considered public and all are welcome, so ICE agents can come in. You do have the option of closing the doors after the service starts and stationing someone near the doors so that they can tell agents they cannot come in without a warrant.

2. If agents do come in, document, document document. Make clear, verbally and on film, that services are going on and that you do not consent to their entrance. Film, get names, badge numbers, etc. Call the media and your bishop, and tell the agents you are doing so.

3. People who have immigration documents (like a green card, work ID, VISA, or stay of removal) should be carrying those documents with them. If ICE agents do not "believe" those documents (which has been happening in Chicago) use white privilege and or clergy privilege to step in to those confrontations and assert your parishoners rights. It's been effective in some cases. 

4. In Massachusetts, if you or a parishioner need or want advice, they can call Laura Rotolo at the ACLU- 7814756005 or the ACLU office - 6174823170.  

Attached is more info, which you can print and post or give out as needed. 

Let us pray for all those whose lives, status, and livelihood are threatened in these times,