Update 10/23/2019: Recently, ICE withdrew fines for all of the women living in sanctuary that it had targeted earlier in the summer! This collaborative effort succeeded due to the bravery of the sanctuary leaders and the tenacity of their lawyers and supporters.
In June of 2019, ICE began targeting immigrant leaders who have taken sanctuary in churches around the country by charging them exorbitant fines of between $300,000 and $500,000 each. These sanctuary leaders are fighting to keep their families together and safe from harm. Most face death or torture in their home countries or have young children or sick family members in the U.S. who depend on them. The sanctuary leaders have been forcibly unemployed by ICE’s threats to deport them and separate them from their families in the U.S. They do not have hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay outrageous fines. Neither do the churches and grassroots community groups that are supporting them.
These fines are disproportionate and violate constitutional protections. Free Migration Project and Austin Sanctuary Network are collaborating to prepare a legal defense against ICE’s Sanctuary Fines along with sanctuary leaders and their attorneys.