NORCAL WILDFIRES: Latest informationHow you can helpMore

ICE Agents Staked Out Near Church Raise Concerns In Sacramento

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Fears of deportation have placed a cloud over a Sacramento church.

The Del Paso church  La Vida serves as a sanctuary for the local Hispanic community. Federal immigration agents were caught staking out at the church during services.

But Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have a policy to avoid sensitive places, including houses of worship.

Pastor Alex Vaiz’s Sacramento church is a safe place for people from all walks of life.

“A good number of our church are immigrants,” said he said.

But Vaiz says that sanctuary is now threatened, after federal immigration agents staked out across the street from the church during Sunday services.

Vaiz approached an unmarked sedan in the parking lot of an old Bank of America.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents told him they were there by coincidence, not realizing the church exists. Del Paso boulevard has signs pointing to La Vida church but it’s tucked away behind an art gallery. ICE agents made no arrests, and left, leaving the pastor and his church on edge.

“There was confusion and a lot of fear,” said Vaiz.

In a statement, ICE tells CBS13:

“Officers were conducting surveillance in conjunction with a targeted enforcement action. the officers, who were parked in a lot marked by a sign for a major bank, were unaware the property is used by a congregation that holds Sunday services in an office building across the street.”

“The vast majority of immigrants are not criminals. They have violated civil immigration law, but they’re not criminals,” said Luis Cespedes.

Luis Cespedes is an immigration attorney and serves as legal counsel for the Sacramento’s Safe Haven Task Force, protecting immigrant families from unlawful raids. But Cespedes says ICE’s conduct at La Vida Church is lawful. If the person they were looking for is convicted of a crime, the city is not a sanctuary for criminals.

“Both of our local jurisdictions and ICE contemplate continuing to arrest, particularly if there’s a judicial warrant… serious felons,” said Cespedes.

Immigration raids have spiked nationwide under the Trump administration, but ICE maintains its policy to avoid sensitive areas, including churches.

“There is more power in numbers,” said Vaiz.

So Vaiz is now powering through by beefing up security at services.

“We’re just worried about them coming back again and intimidating our congregation,” said Vaiz.

ICE emphasizes the incident is purely coincidence and agents are not targeting churches and other sensitive areas.

More from Lemor Abrams
Comments

One Comment

  1. Good for ICE.

    We can assume these illegal congregants are engaged in confession for breaking the law. Otherwise, the word “hypocrite” comes to mind…

  2. You see here a lot of common sense replies, instead of the protectionism coming from the trash in Sacramento News Operations. 13,10, 3, 40 are all liberal maggots that carry forth their liberal agenda on a nightly basis. Boycott their advertisers like Sleep Train maybe that will wake them up.

  3. B.E. Busch says:

    “immigrants”

    Illegal aliens* Immigrants have nothing to worry about.

  4. These are not immigrants, these are Mexican citizens illegally in the United States. This ‘church’ is aiding and abetting them in breaking the law.

  5. Al Krause says:

    “A good number of our church are immigrants,” said he said.

    If they are immigrants they have nothing to fear because immigrants applied for,waited for permission and papers showing that permission.

    Illegal aliens on the other hand . . .

Leave a Reply to Joe Smith Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS13 | CBS Sacramento

Get Our App
Get The CBS Sacramento Weather AppGet the latest radar, CBS13 AppCasts and hour-by-hour forecasts. You can also send your weather pics.
Follow Us On Facebook

Watch & Listen LIVE