CRLN Immigration Riads Faith Leader Letter

**Copy of CRLN Faith Leader Letter to Director Ricard Wong Opposing ICE Immigration Raids. This letter, which demonstrates the faith community's unity against immigration raids, was delivered at a press conference outside the local Chicago ICE offices on Thursday, January 28th, 2016. 


To: Ricardo Wong                                                                   

Field Office Director

Immigration and Customs Enforcement



Dear Director Ricardo Wong,

As you are aware, on December 23rd, the Washington Post published an article that exposed plans by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to start 2016 with mass raids targeting Central American families who had been ordered deported. Despite immediate outcry, on January 2, 2016 Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices in Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina implemented the raids, using a variety of deceitful, legally suspect, tactics to terrorize and detain at least 121 immigrants.  Although as far as we know these operations have not yet taken place in Chicago, we are asking you as the Director of the ICE Field ICE Office in Chicago to exercise your discretion and to refrain from the use of raids as a tactic to detain immigrant families under your jurisdiction.


As faith leaders, from various faiths and denominational backgrounds, we are appalled by the violence and terror that is being brought upon immigrant communities in the form of raids.  We are united in our condemnation of past and ongoing immigration raids and the way in which this tactic is being used to drive fear and panic into the hearts of immigrant communities. Armed agents barging into people’s homes and communities, frequently in violation of basic civil rights, is not just “harsh” as described by DHS Secretary Johnson,  it is immoral. These raids demonstrate blatant disregard for the sanctity of the home, the family unit, and the community, and the psychological and emotional well-being of those who are forced to preemptively dread and then witness and endure such trauma.


In addition, the majority of the Central American families and immigrants that are being targeted by the raids are people fleeing grave violence, poverty, and instability. Historically, these conditions have been exacerbated by US-led economic and military interests in the area. Like many immigrants from different nationalities and backgrounds who are similarly at risk of detention throughout a raid, they are vulnerable immigrants who have had little or no support navigating the complex immigration system and who would face significant danger and hardship if deported. Many have not undergone an appeal process yet and could have remaining legal possibilities.


Where asylum applications have been denied, we urge your administration to grant families and immigrants the opportunity to undergo an appeal process. Additionally, we urge your office to leverage its power of discretion to grant legally recognized forms of relief, such as a stay of removal or deferred action, to vulnerable families and immigrants threatened by deportation. In all instances, we urge you to adhere by the November 2014 guidelines on prosecutorial discretion so that an individual’s positive equities, including family members in the U.S. and positive community engagement, may outweigh factors that might otherwise render them deportable. Relief, not raids, is what is needed.

When flawed and immoral laws have led us to fall short on our commitments to compassion and justice, the faith community has played an important role in the creation and pursuit of just alternatives. So long as immigrants continue to be persecuted and targeted with methods and tactics reminiscent of “Operation Wetback” and similarly dark chapters in this country’s history, we will work to build the power necessary to push back against the injustice of indiscriminate detentions and deportations. As we write, some of us have either already declared or are currently taking steps to become sanctuary-offering congregations for immigrants persecuted by ICE. If immigrant homes, workplaces, and communities cease to be spaces of safety and refuge, our congregations will take the steps necessary to fill those vacuums. As a whole, we are committed to doing the outreach and organizing work necessary to transform our congregations and networks into local hubs of resources and information for any immigrants and members seeking to learn their rights and to challenge unjust immigration enforcement tactics. 


As people of faith we leave you the following, well-known, Scripture, stressing again the moral urgency of desisting from the use of dehumanizing and terrorizing tactics against our immigrant brothers and sisters. “When immigrants reside among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The immigrants residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God”--Leviticus 19: 33-34


Across our various faiths, we hold true to this simple mandate of love and compassion towards the immigrant.




Rev. Dr. Larry Greenfield,

Executive Minister of the American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago


Rev. Jorge Morales,

Conference Minister of the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ


Rev. Jonathan Knight,

Associate Conference Minister of the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ


Rev. Vertie Powers,

Associate Conference Minister of the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ


Reverend Hector Garfias-Toledo,

Associate to the Bishop, Metropolitan Chicago Synod


Pastor Jorge Fuentes,

Red de Oracion, USA


Sr. Patricia Crowley,

President, Conference of Benedictine Prioresses


Sr. Judith Murphy,

Prioress, Benedictine Sisters of Chicago


Rev. Michael Mann,

United Methodist Church, Northern Illinois Conference


Judith Levey,

Executive Director, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs


Rami Nashashibi,

Executive Director, Inner-City Muslim Action (IMAN)


Provincial Council of Clerics of St. Viator (Viatorians)


Sr. Donna Preston, President, Sisters & Brothers of Immigrants


Indiana & Wisconsin:


Rev. Jaqueline Lynn,

Peace and Justice Committee of the Episcopal Diocese, Libertyville, IL


Sr. Sally Ann Brickner,

Congregations of Sisters of St. Agnes, Fond du Lac, WI


Sr. Jeanne Conzemius,

Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis, Rice Lake, WI


Sr. Joyce Diltz,

Bethany Retreat House, East Chicago, IN


Sr. Kathleen Quinn,

Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, East Chicago, IN


Br. Brian McLauchlin,

Joint Immigration Venture, Glenview, IL


Sr. Linda Mershon,

8th Day Center for Justice, La Crosse, WI


Sr. Rose Mary Meyer,

Project IRENE, Wilmette, IL


Mark Peters,

Justice, Peace, and Reconciliation Director with Priests of the Sacred Heart,

US Province, Franklin, Wisconsin


Sr. Mary Rathert,

Sinsinawa Domincans, Sinsinawa, WI


Sr. Linda Volk,

Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, Donaldson, IN


Sr. Marge White,

Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Mary of the Woods, IN


Sr. Carleen Wrasman,

Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, Donaldson, IN


Sr. Coletta Wrasman,

Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, Donaldson, IN


Illinois (non-Chicago):


Rev. Victor Conrado,

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Glen Ellyn, IL


Rev. Steve Van Kuiken,

Senior Minister at Lake Street Church of Evanston, Evanston, IL


Rev. Jose Jerez,

Iglesia Unida de Cristo, Berwyn, IL


Rev. Dr. Carlos Plazas,

St. Michael and All Angels Church, Berwyn, IL


Pastor Angel Roman,

Kingdom Voice Ministries, Waukegan, IL


Pastor Chris Walters,

Plainfield United Methodist Church, Plainfield, IL


Rev. Hillary Watson,

Lombard Mennonite Church, Lombard, IL


Rev. Sally Scheib,

Bethel United Church of Christ, Elmhurst, IL


Rev. Betty Birkhahn-Rommelfanger,

Chestnut Square/Bethany Methodist Retirement Community, Skokie, IL


Sr. Carol Cook,

Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM), Oak Park, IL


Sr. Kathleen Conway,

Sisters of the Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM), Brookfield, IL


Sr. Pammit, Lovina, OSF,

Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart, Frankfort, IL


Sr. Sheahan Maureen,

Sisters of Providence, River Grove, IL


Sr. Joellen Sbrissa,

Congregation of St. Joseph, La Grange Park, IL


Br. Larry Schatz,

Provincial, De la Salle Christian Brothers, Willowbrook, IL


Sr. Kristine Vorenkamp,

Sisters of the Living Word, Arlington Heights, IL


Roger Curless, Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON), Aurora, IL


Laura Keigley, Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON), Aurora, IL


Lawrence Thompson,

Coordinator of Immigration Ministries at St. Andrew United Methodist Church,

Carol Stream, IL


Nanette Snowden,

Mission & Social Justice Committee Chair,

Northminster Presbyterian Church, Evanston, IL




Pastor Rolando Alvarez,

Iglesia Envangelica Principe de Paz, Chicago, IL


Pastor Gerson Amaya,

Salem Evangelical Free Church, Chicago, IL


Rev. Lilian Amaya,

Executive Director of Haziel Ministries, Chicago, IL


Pastor Alli Baker,

Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ, Chicago, IL


Rev. Carolyn Bavaro,

Episcopal Diocese, Chicago, IL


Dr. PhD. Jose Bermudez,

Su Voluntad Ministries, INC. Chicago, IL


Pastor Ernesto Betancourt,

Temple of God Shalom, Chicago, IL


Pastor Beth Buckingham-Brown,

Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church, Chicago, IL


Vicar Tobita Chow,

First Lutheran Church of the Trinity, Chicago, IL


Rev. Julian DeShazier,

University Church of Chicago, Chicago IL


Fr. Ted Durst, Episcopal Church, Chicago, IL


Rev. Kristian Johnson,

Pilgrim Lutheran Church, Chicago IL


Rabbi Seth Limmer,

Chicago Sinai Congregation, Chicago, IL


Rev. Alka Lyall,

Broadway United Methodist Church, Chicago, IL


Rev. Kevin McLemore,

Epiphany United Church of Christ, Chicago, IL


Rev. Carol McVetty,

North Shore Baptist Congregation, Chicago, IL


Rev. Maria Elizabeth Muñoz,

Nuestra Señora de las Americas, Chicago, IL


Rev. Shakespeare Osorio,

Central Baptist Spanish Church, Chicago, IL


Rev. Luis Quinones,

First Congregational Church, Chicago, IL


Rev. Kathryn Ray,

North Shore Baptist Congregation, Chicago, IL


Pastor Rony Reyes,

North Shore Baptist Church, Chicago, IL


Rev. Jose A. Rosa,

First Congregational Church, Chicago, IL


Rabbi Brant Rosen,

Tzedek Chicago, Chicago, IL


Pastor Ignacio Salinas,

San Benito Anglican Mission, Chicago, IL


Pastor Michael Shanahan,

Our Lady of Lourdes, Chicago, IL


Rev. Dr. Douglas Sharp,

Hyde Park Union Church, Chicago, IL


Rev. Kara Wagner Sherer,

St. John’s Episcopal Church, Chicago, IL


Rev. Joyce Thomas,

Holy Cross-IHM Parish, Chicago, IL


Rev. Adrienne Trevathan,

Associate Minster of the Holy Covenant United Methodist Church, Chicago, IL


Rev. Paula Cripps-Vallejo,

Humboldt Park United Methodist Church, Chicago, IL


Rev. Alex Wirth,

Lake View Presbyterian Church, Chicago, IL


Sr. Judith Birgen,

Sisters of Providence, Chicago, IL


Br. Bede Bladry, FSC,

De La Salle Christian Brothers, Chicago, IL


Fr. Robert Bossie,

Priests of the Sacred Heart, Chicago, IL


Sr. Marilyn Breen,

Presentation Sisters, Chicago, IL


Sr. Mary Catherin Connolly,

Sr. of the Living Word, Chicago, IL


Sr. Lupita Cordero,

Schools Sisters of the Atlantic Midwest Providence, Chicago, IL


Sr. Judith David,

Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis, Chicago, IL


Sr. Mary Kay Flanigan, OSF,

Franciscan Sisters, Chicago, IL


Sr. Barbara Gaul,

Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Chicago, IL


Sr. Marilyn Kofler,

Sisters of Providence, Chicago, IL


Sr. Mary Ellen Meckley,

Sisters of the Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Chicago, IL


Sr. Mary Ann Penner,

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Chicago, IL


Br. Martin Spellman, FSC, Brothers of the Christian Schools













**Associations for Identification Purposes Only