Archbishop Blase Cupich told Chicago's Catholic priests Tuesday not to allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on to church property without a warrant.
In a letter to the archdiocese's priests, Cupich said the Archdiocese of Chicago
"stands in solidarity with many of our parishioners who are deeply
troubled by the recent executive orders related to immigration."
If a federal immigration agent comes to a church searching for an
undocumented immigrant, officials should ask for a warrant — and
immediately contact the archdiocese's lawyers, Cupich wrote.
"If they do not have a warrant and it is not a situation that someone
is in imminent danger, tell them politely they cannot come on the
premises," Cupich said.
However, only ordained priests may live on church property, Cupich said.
"We have not named our churches as 'sanctuaries' solely because it
would be irresponsible to create false hope that we can protect people
from law-enforcement actions, however unjust or inhumane we may view
them to be," Cupich said.
Since Donald Trump was elected president in November, the number of
churches in the United States offering to protect undocumented
immigrants by allowing them to live on church property has doubled to
800, according to Church World Service, a faith-based organization that helps the poor.
The move comes as the Trump administration released guidelines
to immigration agents last week outlining the procedure to make good on
the president's campaign promise to expel millions of people who are in
the country without permission.
Cupich called Trump's effort — thwarted by the court, at least for
now — to ban entry to the U.S. for refugees and immigrants from
predominately seven Muslim countries as "a dark moment in U.S. history."
Chicago Public Schools officials have also announced that immigration agents are not allowed on school property.
Chicago will remain a sanctuary city,
and prohibit police officers from cooperating with federal immigration
officials — despite threats from Trump to yank all federal grants from
the city, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said.