Why I Came ‘Off The Fence’ On Sanctuary Cities

A recent article in the Hyattsville Life & Times quoted my feeling about needing to “draw a line in the sand” regarding becoming a sanctuary city. The article also stated that I had previously been on the fence regarding this issue. While both are true, the article failed to note my reasons for coming “off the fence.” This failure to share the context of my decision is regrettable. I was very clear in my remarks that my reasons were based on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) beginning to target faith-based programs such as the Rising Hope Warm Nights Shelter in Alexandria, Va., which had recently been targeted by ICE as a place to pick up Hispanic persons as they left the shelter. The very concepts of “sanctuary” and asylum are rooted in the faith traditions of Christians, Jews and Muslims. I believe the violation of those traditions by ICE in their recent practices — something they have purposely avoided in the past — raises the probability of their entering sacred spaces in pursuit of immigrants they wish to arrest. This is what pushed me off the fence and remains a significant concern in my mind.

The Rev. Stephen G. Price is the pastor at First Baptist Church Hyattsville.

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