Churches jump into action with threat of immigration sweeps

CHICAGO (AP) — Religious leaders nationwide are using the pulpit to quell concerns in immigrant communities and take action as the threat of an immigration crackdown looms.

While federal immigration officials were mum on details, they were expected to start a coordinated action Sunday targeting thousands of people with final deportation orders in 10 major cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami.

The Rev. John Celichowski of St Clare de Montefalco Parish in Chicago used his homily during Mass to praise the compassion of a border activist accused of harboring immigrants living in the country illegally. Another Chicago church planned a “deportation defense workshop.”

A network of 25 Houston churches offered sanctuary to families fearing deportation.

In Miami, activists handed fliers outside churches advising immigrants of their rights in case they encounter agents.

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