Catholic leaders say immigration raids scare people away from churches
By Matthai Chakko Kuruvila
SAN FRANCISCO, Cal., Mar. 17, 2007 (www.sfgate.com) - Catholic leaders on Friday warned that recent immigration raids have caused some panic in the Bay Area's poor, migrant communities.
The raids, which officials said primarily targeted immigrants with deportation orders, also ensnared hundreds of illegal immigrants not specifically targeted by authorities. As a result, some parishioners will not attend church services, and some are scared to report crimes because they fear deportation, Catholic officials said.
Immigration officials said they must arrest illegal immigrants and that they prefer using tactics that avoid disrupting communities, such as going to specific homes rather than targeting entire neighborhoods.
"Our community is in fear," said Sarah Nolan, a parish organizer in the Archdiocese of San Francisco's Office of Public Policy. She helped organize a Mission District rally Friday. "We accept the legitimate role of the government in intercepting undocumented migrants. What we don't accept are some of the policies and tactics that our government has employed."
Catholic leaders would like U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to >