An outraged Democratic member of Congress Friday blasted the head of Homeland Security for the “despicable” patrolling by a Homeland agency car of his Garden Grove church.
Rep. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, called the action “intimidation” that “is wrong.”
Correa raised his concerns to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly about photos of what appeared to be a vehicle from his agency “patrolling” at Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove.
The congressman received the photos from the Diocese of Orange.
“Christ Cathedral is my church,” Correa said of the new name for Chrystal Cathedral. “I know what it looks like, and these photos clearly show an ICE vehicle staking out the parking lot. This is despicable, and this behavior must end. It is intimidation, and it is wrong.”
ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said the vehicle shown in the photos “belongs to another agency, not U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
Andrew Scibetta, a spokesman for Correa, said it appears the vehicle was from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, another agency under Homeland Security.
“That’s got us even more worried now,” Scibetta said. “Why are they all the way up here patrolling a church?”
Diocese of Orange spokesman Ryan Lilyengren said the vehicle was seen on the Christ Cathedral campus on Feb. 17.
“In response to this incident, the Most Rev. Kevin Vann, Bishop of Orange, wrote a personal letter to (Kelly) expressing his concern about this situation,” Lilyengren said. “Additionally, Bishop Vann issued organizational and legal guidance to the 62 parishes and 41 schools within the Diocese regarding how to address the presence of ICE at our facilities. The message to Secretary Kelly and the guidance issued to Diocesan sites was focused on ensuring that ICE respects the due process rights of individuals and our institutions.”
Tani Cantil-Sakauye, the chief justice of the state Supreme Court, wrote a letter Thursday to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Kelly about reports that federal agents were “stalking” immigrants at courthouses.
“I am deeply concerned about reports from some of our trial courts that immigration agents appear to be stalking undocumented immigrants in our courthouses to make arrests,” Cantil-Sakauye wrote. “Courthouses should not be used as bait in the necessary enforcement of our country’s immigration laws.”
— City News Service
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