Portland faith leaders condemn immigration rules

All Lutheran churches in Oregon are sanctuaries

Portland faith leaders condemn immigration rules, February 24 2017. (KOIN)
Portland faith leaders condemn immigration rules, February 24 2017. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The number of churches providing sanctuary for people being deported has doubled since the election of Donald Trump in November, said the pastor of the Augustana Lutheran Church in Portland.

Eyewitness hotline if you see a raid happening: 1.888.622.1510

Faith leaders from leading Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other organizations such as the Albina Ministerial Alliance, VOZ, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice, Familias en Accion, Jobs with Justice and other faith and immigrant’s rights groups held a press conference at 10 a.m at Augustana Lutheran Church on NE 14th Avenue.

Pastor Mark Knutson said there are now 800 churches nationwide providing sanctuary for people from deportation, and added there are 30 churches in Oregon alone committed to providing sanctuary for non-documented immigrants.

Augustana Lutheran Church has previously provided shelter for immigrants, including Francisco Aguirre in 2014. Knutson called an interfaith press conference Friday at the church to rally those who support immigrant rights and those who are undocumented..

The group said the fear of deportation has grown so much within the community. A Sandy city council member said some families are afrarid to leave their homes for doctor appointments, schooling and trips to get food.

“Twelve million people literally go to bed at night not knowing if there will be a knock a the door, maybe even break down your door, drag you out and not always know why,” Rev. Knutson said.

All the Lutheran churches in Oregon have committed to providing sanctuary to immigrants, Knutson said. Another 11,000 churches nationwide are considering it.

Knutson also emphasized the importance of helping immigrants to understand their rights. He said ICE cannot come into a home without a warrant.

The group also provided an eyewitness hotline to call if you see a raid happening: 1.888.622.1510.

Earlier this week, the Portland Tribune obtained e-mails that showed several instances of deputies telling ICE agents where and when to find people ICE was looking for.

Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese said Thursday that his office is still investigating the allegations.