Watch CBS News

Looming ICE Raids Dividing New York Leaders, Draws Mixed Reaction From Catholic Church

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Some local communities are bracing themselves, one day before Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers (ICE) are expected to begin nationwide raids to find illegal immigrants.

President Trump says the crackdown is meant to remove undocumented criminals from the country. CBS2's Dave Carlin reports that local leaders have a wide range of opinions on the divisive issue.

MORE: ICE To Carry Out Nationwide Raid For Undocumented Immigrants In New York, Other Major Cities This Weekend

There was high anxiety in neighborhoods where raids by ICE are believed to be coming Sunday.

On Saturday New York City leaders including Council Speaker Corey Johnson said those targeted by the dragnets should not open their doors to an agent who does not have a warrant.

Mayor Bill de Blasio again announced the raids will come without the city support, including aid from the NYPD.

The Mayor sent out a tweet saying "if you or a loved one are approached by federal immigration enforcement in your home, on the street or in public, remember: You have rights - and your city will help you fight for them."

Union leaders with the NYPD's Sergeants Benevolent Association however, are urging local police to defy de Blasio's policy and not to leave ICE officers undefended in potentially dangerous situations.

"I there remind you of our sworn oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States," union president Ed Mullins said in a statement on Twitter. "stand shoulder to shoulder with each agent so that they too can return home safely to their families."

In a phone interview Republican Congressman Peter King of Long Island told CBS2 something must be done about an estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally.

"I believe these raids - while nobody wants them - there absolutely necessary," Rep King said.

"Everyone that ICE is going after my understanding is they had their day in court, the judges ordered them deported, so they have no right to be here in the country."

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, brought up the topic at a noon mass before the St. Frances Cabrini Shrine on what would have been her 169th birthday.

"With all the difficulties and tensions and challenges we are facing," Dolan said.

He added that staffers with Catholic charities are working this weekend, answering hotline calls and providing outreach.

"We defend the right of the nation to make sure it's borders are secure and its people are safe, but we also defend the right of people to be treated honestly, justly, and fairly as children of God," Dolan added.

There is concern among religious leaders that when houses of worship become safe houses they are not necessarily set up properly to become extended living spaces.

"Sanctuary can't be limited to this particular building," Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, the executive director of Catholic Charities said.

"We need our neighborhood, our community, our nation to be a holy safe place."

Catholic Charities volunteer Fanny Gomez spent Saturday spreading a message that help is available.

"To give them their rights, to look at their paperwork, to see what they're missing in order to become a resident," Gomez explained.

She added getting information to those who may need it is complicated by the fact that many who fear being caught by ICE this weekend are hiding out inside their homes until the impending raids die down.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.