Rep. Grijalva: Distinction Between Legal, Illegal Immigrants ‘Doesn’t Exist’

Zoey DiMauro, CNS News, September 26, 2014

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) said Wednesday that any distinction between illegal immigrants and those who obey U.S. laws and enter the country legally “doesn’t exist.”

CNSNews asked the Arizona Democrat, who supports a movement by a growing number of churches to provide sanctuary for illegal aliens facing deportation, what he would say to those who entered the U.S. legally.

“That the issue here is about family,” Grijalva replied. “That the issue here is that the people that are seeking the support and the protection of sanctuary are people that are hard-working, families, blended family many times, with citizens and children, and this is not about an issue of some people deserve it, some people don’t.

“Quite frankly, the people that have gone through the immigration process and waited all those years are some of the most staunchest supporters, within those congregations, of the individuals that are being provided the protection,” Grijalva said during a press teleconference hosted by Church World Service.

“So it’s not an either/or and it’s not us versus them,” he continued. “It’s a human issue. And as somebody else said, these are people that have been part of . . . these are kids that go to school with our kids, and these are people that work and pay taxes as we do.

“And so that distinction that you want to make doesn’t exist.”

“The sanctuary movement is a response to the lack of action,” Grijalva continued. “To lead on this moral imperative is critical.

“Sanctuary would spare many families [from] deportation and [give] some the ability to be able to function and live in our society, something all these families have earned,” he added.

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Sanctuary participants rely on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy that does not allow immigration officers to enter sensitive areas such as schools and churches.

“We’re fairly confident that they won’t enter into the sacred space of a house of worship and we’re just hoping they continue to keep that promise,“ said the Rev. Alison Harrington, whose church, Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, is part of the movement.

“After the President’s announcement on September 6th to, again, delay administrative relief to those at risk of deportation, faith bodies began to question the morality of waiting and bearing the daily loss of our brothers and sisters any longer,” said Rev. Gradye Parsons of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. who participated in the Sept. 24 teleconference.

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