100-Year-Old Church Closes Amid Fear of Immigration Raids
After 100 years of serving parishioners, the All Saints Church in Detroit has closed its doors. On Dec. 31 they held their last mass. Many factors are listed as to why the historic church had to close, including financial issues and a newly constructed highway nearby. However, some point the main cause to immigration raids.
A reverend at a nearby church says a rise in immigration raids impacted attendance, and Latinos stopped showing up.
Final mass Sunday for historic All Saints church in SW Detroit https://t.co/UypWO7AjWy
— Detroit Now (@DetroitCP) December 30, 2017
“ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has an informal agreement that they have affirmed that they will not go into churches and not hassle people going to church,” Rev. Marc Gawronski, a pastor at the neighboring St. Gabriel church, told The Detroit Free Press, adding that despite that agreement, “people are even nervous about being able to get up in the morning and go to church.”
The Latino community has always been a huge part of Michigan’s history, dating back to the early 1900s. They’ve also created roots with the local Catholic churches. But now with increased raids many are not even leaving their homes.
The Detroit Free Press reports that only three people showed up to one of the last Spanish-language masses.
CREDIT: YouTube/US NEWS
Last month, 27 undocumented immigrants were detained by ICE in raids conducted in Western Michigan.
“Operations like this one demonstrate ICE’s continued focus on the arrest of dangerous criminal aliens as well as those who enter the United States illegally,” Rebecca Adducci, field office director for Enforcement and Removal Operations in Detroit, said in a released statement. “I applaud the dedicated men and women of ICE who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe.”
Raids have increased immensely in the area since the election of President Donald Trump.
A Latino leader in Detroit told DHS Sec. Kelly today that immigration raids this yr are hurting business & families https://t.co/rU5YZfCFGx
— Niraj Warikoo (@nwarikoo) March 28, 2017
The ramp up in raids has caused many undocumented immigrants to stay indoors, and even away from sanctuary sites like churches. Some are even afraid to go to work.
In May, three Latino men were detained while working at an upscale restaurant in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The owner of Ann Arbor's Sava's Restaurant said Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials took at least three… https://t.co/qsSvflwz6b
— John X Choe (@jxcnyc) May 27, 2017
All detainees had no criminal background, but were taken because they couldn’t show proper documentation.
In a released statement on the detainments at Sava’s Restaurant, ICE said:
“While conducting a targeted enforcement action at Sava’s restaurant in Ann Arbor, Michigan, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers encountered and arrested three individuals on immigration violations. Sergio Cardenas Rubio and Jesus Ortiz Hernandez unlawfully entered the United States without inspection at an unknown date and location. Mohamed Souman lawfully entered the country, but did not depart in accordance with the terms of his status. All three are currently in ICE custody.”
All Saints Church opened on Nov. 1, 1896. Only their soup kitchen that feeds hundreds of families will remain open.
Fear of #immigration #ICEraids partially to blame for 100-year-old Roman #Catholic church closing. The final Mass at All Saints Church was celebrated Sunday on Detroit's southwest side.#Deportation #MoralResistance #MoralMajority #GOPValues #WWJDeport? https://t.co/TOiRTaSywA
— Anna Núñez (@nunez_anna) January 1, 2018
“We knew the parishioners were low, and that could contribute to closure,” Gabriela Bravo told the Detroit Free Press. “But in my case, I was surprised. I was hoping the Archdiocese would do something to save the church.”