Sanctuary Movement Leaders Condemn Outrageous ICE Fines


For Immediate Release: July 2, 2019

Media Contact: The Rev. Noel Andersen| 510-334-0431 |


Sanctuary Movement Leaders Condemn Outrageous ICE Fines

ICE Sends Letters Levying Fines of up to $500,000 to Immigrants Claiming Sanctuary

Washington D.C. – Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently sent letters to at least 10 immigrants’ rights leaders claiming Sanctuary to pay fines totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars for each day they have remained in the country undocumented following removal orders. The fines, which come from an INA statute that has never before been implemented, are exorbitant for those who stayed in a place of worship to fight their deportation order and remain united with their families.

These immigrant leaders claiming Sanctuary have boldly told their stories to thousands of people through the media. These are clear tactics of retaliation designed to limit freedom of speech and freedom of religious expression of faith communities welcoming their neighbors. ICE is acting as a political army to terrorize immigrants and the religious communities that have stood up for them and their rights.

“We strongly oppose ICE’s decision to terrorize immigrants and religious communities that have stood up for their right to seek sanctuary,” said Myrna Orozco, Organizing Coordinator for Church World Service’s Immigration and Refugee Program. “This is a clear intimidation tactic that does nothing to solve our broken immigration system. We will work to fight and appeal these exorbitant fines.”

Rev. Mark Davidson, whose Church of Reconciliation in Chapel Hill, NC is providing sanctuary to Rosa Ortez-Cruz, said, “Rosa’s case is pending, and she is waiting until it is adjudicated in the courts. She’s entitled to her day in court. Nevertheless, in typical fashion, the Trump administration wants to skirt the law, and arbitrarily remove her. This is piling on vulnerable immigrant communities and is a reprehensible abuse of power. It should be immediately reversed.”

Since 1946, Church World Service has supported refugees, immigrants and other displaced individuals, in addition to providing sustainable relief and development solutions to communities that wrestle with hunger and poverty. Learn more about our work and join our global homebase for refugee solidarity at