A Fayetteville church is among the growing number of religious organizations offering protection to undocumented immigrants during President Donald Trump’s directed ICE raids across the United States.
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, on Old Missouri Road in northwest Fayetteville is among nearly 800 faith communities that have vowed to “protect and stand with immigrants facing deportation,” according to the website sanctuarynotdeportation.org.
Immigration authorities have reportedly begun conducting raids in select cities across the United States, focusing on first on Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco. Regardless of where the raids are reportedly taking place, churches across America have opened their doors to undocumented immigrants.
ICE is not commenting on operational details of the raids and the priority will be apprehending violent criminals and aggravated felons. ICE agents are not “utilizing” allegations of crossing the border illegally, a misdemeanor, as cause for arrest in the raids.
According to the Rapid Response Toolkit provided to faith communities who have made the Sacred Resistance pledge, ICE is bound by its policy against conducting enforcement actions at or near “sensitive locations” and this specifically includes houses of worship. Houses of worship are encouraged to ask for a warrant and to determine whether or not the warrant is valid and includes the name of the person they are looking for.
“As the faith community, we must continue to stand in solidarity with immigrants and refugees as increased attacks come down from the Administration,” the toolkit reads.
The goals of participating houses of worship are listed as follows:
- Stand in solidarity and accompany families targeted by raids
- Respond to the Trump Administration’s’ attack on immigrants through faithful witness to disrupt/raids and immigration enforcement through prayerful and prophetic presence
- Put public pressure on ICE and the Trump Administration to stop all raids and deportations.
- Counter this wave of terror through the immigrant community with a message of hope, faith and planned action in immigrant communities.
- Support the families who are victims of raids through service provision and necessary organizing capacity building among the broader community
- Increase the number of congregations involved in the Sanctuary movement and ways people of faith can take action in a concrete way.
- Continue to build a network of houses of worship that are willing to resist the raids through creating safe spaces to accompany partner organizations in deportation defense
- Accompany undocumented community members through public facing safe spaces that can provide shelter, food, clothing, legal service and assistance in family reunfiication when possible
- Complement local organizing efforts around rapid response that also encompass concrete ways to engage the faith community
Fayetteville’s Good Shephard Lutheran Church is the only Arkansas church listed on the website.