FaithNews

“Safe Space” Church Says ICE Agent Posed As Homeless To Catch Illegal Immigrants, Turns Out It Was A Lie

ICE had to issue a statement earlier last week after “fake news” was spread about the agency.

“A statement posted to social media, Nov. 23, is a prime example of the reckless, irresponsible misinformation that continues to mislead the public concerning the mission of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE),” read an official statement on Monday.

The statement came in response to a social media post by Eileen McComb- someone who must be affiliated with Redmond United Methodist Church in Washington- who claimed that ICE agents were posing as homeless people to find illegal immigrants hiding in a shelter:

The Daily Caller writes:

The Redmond United Methodist Church’s Facebook page shared a statement Sunday that went into further detail about the alleged incident.

The statement said a female ICE agent entered the church’s premises on Nov. 22, posing as a homeless person, and asked for housing accommodations. The statement, which offered no concrete proof the individual was affiliated with ICE, said the woman asked a social worker a number of questions about the facility. It also said the family in question, sensing something was wrong, secretly fled the scene to avoid the undercover agent.

The agency, however, says the story is fake news.

Wow, you mean to tell me that someone up in super-liberal Washington made something up about ICE?

The agency, in their statement, warned of the damage that these lies can do:

The allegations that ICE entered the Redmond United Methodist church this weekend, or dressed as a homeless woman to enter a homeless shelter located within the church, are false and do nothing but promote fearmongering. ICE did not enter the Redmond United Methodist Church, nor was the agency conducting operations near that location at any time this weekend.

ICE maintains that cooperation by local officials and the community are an indispensable component of promoting public safety. Policy makers who strive to make it more difficult to remove dangerous criminal aliens and aim to stop the cooperation of local officials and business partners, harm the very communities whose welfare they have sworn to protect.

When the agency released their statement, the church decided that it wasn’t an ICE agent, but rather a member of the border patrol who was the one pretending to be homeless… And wouldn’t you know it, that was a lie too.

“The U.S. Border Patrol, Blaine Sector has been made aware of a social media post alleging a Border Patrol Agent conducted enforcement actions at the Redmond United Methodist Church in Redmond, Washington on November 22, 2019. There were no Border Patrol personnel involved in any enforcement actions at the Redmond United Methodist Church or in the city of Redmond, Washington and this information was provided to the Redmond Police Department,” the agency said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“If the public has any additional information regarding this matter, they are encouraged to contact the Redmond Police Department or the United States Border Patrol, Blaine Sector.”

The church then AGAIN decided to update their post… Here it is in it’s entirety… Mind you, it’s one of THOSE “churches”:

UPDATE: The original version said that we suspected ICE. We now believe that the vehicle belonged to the Border Patrol and are working to confirm this. The CBP is also supposed be bound by Sensitive Location rules, and as far as I know is also not allowed to send agents in to Sensitive Locations to lie to the people inside.
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Last Friday night, Nov. 22, an apparent Border Patrol officer came to our church’s family shelter looking for one of the families we serve — a father, mother and two small children. She never identified herself as being with CBP, and in fact pretended to be homeless herself.

She entered the shelter and spoke with the on-site social workers under the pretext of needing housing. She was told that we house only families with children and that the shelter for women was located elsewhere.

Immediately before she entered, the targeted family had somehow realized that the situation was not safe, so they left their meals uneaten and some of their belongings behind and slipped out a side door. Nobody saw them leave.

Believing the agent was genuinely in need, the social worker got her more information about the women’s shelter. The agent then began peppering the social worker with questions: Could she see our kitchen? (No, that was for staff only.) What was in that closet? (A washer and dryer.) Could she see it? (No, same reason.) The social workers, confused, offered her a meal and a bus ticket to get to the women’s shelter, but she turned them down. The agent then walked out the door.

She returned several minutes later while the social worker was occupied with our other families and used the time to approach residents of the shelter, attempting to get information about the targeted family. She started by asking our residents questions like, “Where do you go in the mornings? Where do the kids go to school?” and then continued with, “I’m looking for a family that looks white, but isn’t.” When the social workers discovered her harassing our other guests, she was asked to leave.

Again, the agent never admitted that she was from the Border Patrol. We believe she was an agent only because a social worker went outside at 12:45 a.m. — four hours after the initial contact with the woman and three hours after she left the shelter — to take a phone call and saw the woman standing beside a marked Border Patrol SUV across the street, apparently still waiting.

We have no idea where our shelter family is now. We only know that they left hungry, and that a sweet, polite family with two young children who had been safe in our shelter for several months is now on the street with nowhere to go.

Our church, along with the CCS staff who manage the shelter, works hard to create a safe environment for people in need. Many of our families have had few people they can trust, and we put a lot of effort into creating a place that is safe. Christ called us to care for the stranger, and that is what our church works hard to do. When CBP entered our church, a designated “sensitive area” they should not have had access to under CBP’s and ICE’s own guidelines, to lie to us and interfere with our ministry, they violated everything we believe as Christians.

This is not okay.

We’re in the process of working with immigrants’ rights groups and our elected officials to protect our guests, to determine our rights as a church, and to find out if the government violated any laws or guidelines. Our goal is to work as part of this community to protect those in need and hold our government accountable.

In our church, Redmond United Methodist, “For I was a stranger and you welcomed me” isn’t just a line from the Bible. It is a key tenet of our religious faith. We believe we should be able to exercise our right to serve “the least of these” (Matt. 25) without interference from our government, and we’re going to work with others in our community to do whatever we can to make that happen.

Specifically, we will be:
1) reaching out to our local congressional representatives to express concern. We encourage you to do the same. Our representative is Susan DelBene, and we are connecting with her.

2) Calling the Civil Liberties Division of the ICE Diversity and Civil Rights at (202) 732-0092 (ICE.civil.liberties@cie.dhs.gov) Please join us in expressing your concerns about this type of action. (We will update this information as needed based on our belief, according to new information, that we were dealing with the CBP.)

3) Inviting organizations such as the Washington Immigration Solidarity Network to provide training in how to create and protect safe spaces for those who are in need of services like our homeless shelter. We have been working with this group, along with the Faith Action Network and others, to determine next steps.

Stay tuned as we continue our work in creating a safe and welcoming space for ALL those in need.