Local churches, community leaders react to upcoming ICE raids in Houston area

By Sally Mamdooh - Reporter

HOUSTON - Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee says Living Water Ministries will be a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants fearing the outcome of the anticipated ICE raids. 

The city of Houston is among the 10 cities where raids are anticipated to take place Sunday. The raids ordered by President Donald Trump are spreading anxiety among the undocumented immigrant community, which prompted Lee to take immediate action in response by calling upon pastors around the city, seeking to use their churches as sanctuaries. 

"We’ve never gotten this announcement by the federal government in my time in the United States Congress. And I had to come up with some way there would be a place that some family, even if it is just one, would find a place to come," Lee said. 

Ten other churches are anticipated to open their doors, as well, for undocumented immigrants. Greater Parkhill Church of God, United Praise Tabernacle and On the road for Christ Outreach Ministries are three of the 10 churches included.

The Congresswoman also will be opening her local office as an information center where immigrants can seek information on their rights and what they can do if they are confronted by ICE. 

Lee will have her staff hand out flyers detailing undocumented immigrants rights. 

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner released a statement on anticipated ICE raids: 

"The president’s order for concentrated ICE raids against immigrant families in Houston and elsewhere stands against everything we represent as a welcoming city. I do not support raids against innocent people who have come to this country to escape violence in their homeland or have come here to build a better life for their families. As mayor, I stand with all Houstonians regardless of their documentation status. 

"In our city where one in four residents is foreign-born, I want immigrants to feel safe when accessing city services, especially when they need to call the police to report crimes or visit the Health Department. I have reminded city departments that we will continue offering services to all our residents regardless of who they are, where they are from, or their documentation status. Our job is to keep the city running and maintain public safety in our neighborhoods. Our job is not to be ICE – we do not deport people or break up families. In fact, ICE has not contacted me about the raids in Houston. We are not working or cooperating with ICE on such raids.

"I also remind Houstonians that they are entitled to due process in accordance with the laws of the United States. To that effect, I encourage people to contact the immigrant rights hotline at 1-833-468-4664 for legal assistance."

Copyright 2019 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.