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UCCtruths

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UCC church to be billed for illegal immigration protest against it

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

In an odd twist, a Simi Valley UCC church will be billed by the city for the police presence during a protest against it. The United Church of Christ in Simi Valley has been housing an illegal immigrant going by the name "Liliana" since the beginning of September. This past weekend, a group known as "Save Our State" protested outside the church and now, it appears the church will be responsible for the bill. From the Ventura County Star:
By the end of the week, a Simi Valley church will be billed almost $40,000 for police presence during a weekend protest against the church's sheltering of an illegal immigrant.

The city of Simi Valley is sending a $39,306 invoice to the United Church of Christ for costs incurred for police services at the protest.

The Sunday protest brought out about 125 anti-illegal immigration activists and counterprotesters. Simi officials said that by publicly announcing the decision to shelter an illegal immigrant, the church essentially provoked the protesters to come and create a possible disturbance — one that police had to monitor.

Mayor Paul Miller told the council Monday night that he's ready to send out the bill right away. He called church members irresponsible for "harboring an illegal immigrant."
The United Church of Christ in Simi Valley decided in July to become a "sanctuary congregation" to shelter illegal immigrants. While law enforcement is not prevented from arresting someone staying on church property, it is generally assumed by supporters that arrests will not be made.

As I mentioned back in July, the Simi Valley church joined four other churches in sheltering illegal immigrants as part of the "New Sanctuary Movement". According to the organization's web site, the movement is "a coalition of interfaith religious leaders and participating congregations, called by our faith to respond actively and publicly to the suffering of our immigrant brothers and sisters residing in the United States."

There is a catch to all this self-righteousness: The shelter isn't be available to just any illegal immigrant in need, only those "on the verge of deportation, have a strong work history and have children who are U.S. citizens". In other words, only those illegal immigrants who would make a good headline will be afforded shelter.

Call me cynical, but the "suffering of our immigrant brothers and sisters" has been going on long before it attracted headlines and all of a sudden they are "called by our faith to respond actively and publicly".

Is this really about faith or is it about politics?
posted by UCCtruths, Wednesday, September 19, 2007

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