As Trump Puts Off Deportation Sweeps, Pasadena Church Stands Fast with Offer of Sanctuary

Though president backs down on ICE raids, All Saints Church will continue to provide sanctuary to targeted individuals, families

Published : Monday, June 24, 2019 | 5:19 AM

Banner hanging at All Saints Church in Pasadena. Courtesy image

Shortly before President Donald Trump announced Saturday he had ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to temporarily stand down from sweeps set to start Sunday, All Saints Church Rector Rev. Mike Kinman made an announcement of his own: The Pasadena church he leads would offer sanctuary to those in fear of deportation.

Kinman stood firm after Trump postponed the ICE operations: the offer of sanctuary will continue.

“All Saints Church condemns these raids and the actions of President Trump which authorized them. Any individuals or families who are targeted by ICE for deportation will be provided sanctuary in our sacred space,” Kinman said.

All Saints is an Episcopal church located at 132 N Euclid Avenue, directly across from Pasadena City Hall. Social activism has been a hallmark of the church’s pastorship for decades.

Reverend Mike Kinman of Pasadena's All Saints Church

Kinman called Trump’s deportation operations “the worst of fear-mongering and white supremacy.”

“Beloved, productive and irreplaceable images of God, including many from our own Pasadena and All Saints community,” he wrote, “once again have to fear that they will have their families torn apart, perhaps forever, which causes devastating harm to them and the communities of which they are a part. It is an unconscionable use of fear to continue to divide our nation for political purposes.”

Pasadena itself is not a so-called Sanctuary City.

The City has grappled with the question of immigration policy since Trump’s election.

In March of 2017, the City Council unanimously passed an official resolution declaring that “The City of Pasadena will not enforce federal immigration laws and the City Manager will ensure that all city policies are consistent with this declaration.”

The resolution added that “the City Manager will ensure that the Pasadena Police Department maintains an immigration policy that is consistent with proposed policy 428 and the provisions of this resolution.” Policy 428 reiterates that Pasadena Police do not investigate and prosecute violations of federal immigration laws.

Then-Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez emphasized to the Council that his department did not and would not cooperate with federal agents in immigrant enforcement operations.

Though the 2017 resolution did not use the term “Sanctuary City,” a term with debatable legal status, Mayor Terry Tornek assured the packed City Council chamber that the resolution was a “gesture of good faith.”

“The politics of fear will not be practiced here,” said Tornek, following the vote.

Not all Pasadenans see the issue in those terms. Among Trump supporters locally is Michael Alexander, founding President of TEAPAC, the largest Tea Party organization in Southern California

For Alexander, the deportation issue hinges on a lack of respect for the law which members of both major parties ignore in concert with immigrants who have overstayed their visas and those who tried the legal system and lost.

Trump’s move, Alexander said, “is absolutely correct and long overdue. Whether he actually succeeds or even attempts to expel millions or not, it’s clear we have many hundreds of thousands of people who have come here illegally outside our system.”

Legal citizens can’t even ignore a traffic ticket with the same ease, he suggested.

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