Changing outlooks on immigration in the United States

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Places of worship around the nation stepping up efforts

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — On August 7, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided six different cities in Mississippi and detained hundreds of undocumented immigrants.

“Resulting in the detention of 680 illegal aliens,” said U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst.

In light of this event, places of worship around the nation are stepping up efforts to provide sanctuary to undocumented immigrants.

“If someone were to come to our door, needing sanctuary, we would invite them in and then work through the details,” said Pastor Deb Coggin of New Light Metropolitan Community Church in Hagerstown, and she says that churches have a history of welcoming others.

“We need to stand up and voice our opinions and be the voice for those who — in this situation — don’t have a voice.”

A sentiment echoed by the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy and its executive director, Kim Bobo.

“Congregations over the decades, have offered sanctuary to immigrants, to refugees, to the low-income people, that’s who we are as people of faith,” said Bobo.

In the same vein of these ICE raids, Bobo also shows concerns over the Trump administration’s ‘public charge’ policy.

“Today USCIS, the agency I head as part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a rule that encourages and ensures self reliance and self sufficiency for those seeking to come to or to stay in the United States,” said Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The policy could deny green card or visa applications for legal immigrants who utilize public benefits like medicaid. While Cuccinelli says the policy could promote immigrant success, Bobo says the move targets low-income immigrants.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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