Church Offers Sanctuary as Fear Spreads After ICE Agents Conduct Enforcement Operations

Dozens of home-sweeps targeting undocumented immigrants across the country have sparked a wave of panic in San Diego.

Local churches are preparing for the worst and are offering refuge to those who are seeking refuge.

Pastor Bill Jenkins says his doors are wide open. He has helped refugee men and women in the past at the United Methodist Church in Normal Heights.

“I get calls all the time, of people who are particularly women and children,” said Pastor Jenkins.

He's talking about the coordinated sweeps that have deported hundreds of undocumented immigrants across the country since President Donald Trump signed an executive order to enforce the country's immigration laws.

Immigration officials say the enforcement actions are nothing new.

President Trump's executive order states the Secretary of Homeland Security will prioritize the deportation of people who have been convicted or charged with any criminal offense. Others, who have participated in something that can potentially be chargeable, can also be detained. According to President Trump's executive order, ICE and border patrol agents have the right to detain a person if they feel that person is a risk to public safety or national security.

During Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly's visit to San Diego Friday, he addressed the issue.

“These folks are executing the law,” said Secretary Kelly.

He went on a ride along with ICE agents on what immigration officials call a knock-and-talk.

“At 6 a.m. we went to a house, knocked on the door and took a particular bad individual into custody," he said. 

“What I saw today, the professionalism that I observed in a very potentially dangerous environment gave me great pride," Kelly said. 

Pastor Jenkins said he is ready to make his church a sanctuary and will continue to offer information on legal services to those seeking it.

“What we want to do is to try to give hope and love,” said Jenkins.

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