AP NEWS

Churches council plans for immigration enforcement operation

July 12, 2019

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Rhode Island State Council of Churches asked congregations statewide Friday to prepare to respond to the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement operation.

The Rev. Donnie Anderson said the council is asking congregations to form committees to plan for opening their buildings to immigrants and people who want to pray for them if there’s a sweep in Rhode Island.

The Trump administration is moving forward with a nationwide operation targeting migrant families, which could happen as soon as this weekend.

The council initially asked congregations to open their buildings this weekend for a 24-hour prayer vigil. In times of crisis, communities of faith turn to prayer, the council said.

Anderson said they’re now asking for the planning committees instead because it doesn’t appear the operation will happen in Rhode Island at this point.

“We should work together to form committees that can respond immediately should the crisis become a reality in Rhode Island,” Anderson said.

The Trump administration’s plan is to pursue people with final deportation orders, including families whose immigration cases were fast-tracked by judges in 10 major cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Miami. Immigrant-rights advocates and Democratic lawmakers have voiced strong opposition to the plan. Some question whether it’s the best use of resources given the crisis at the border.

Similar operations have been conducted since 2003, though it’s slightly unusual to target families as opposed to immigrants with criminal histories.

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