Portland, OR, Church Members Walk in Solidarity With Immigrant Man to Mandatory ICE Meeting

Francisco Aguirre walks with members of the Augustana Lutheran Church on Thursday, March 30, 2017. The members accompanied him to a mandatory meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. (KATU Photo)
Francisco Aguirre walks with members of the Augustana Lutheran Church on Thursday, March 30, 2017. The members accompanied him to a mandatory meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. (KATU Photo)

Members of a local church helped walk in solidarity with a man who had to have a mandatory meeting with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency Thursday morning.

The group walked from Augustana Lutheran Church in Northeast Portland to the ICE offices in Southwest Portland. Augustana Lutheran Church was one of the first churches in Portland to become a sanctuary church more than 20 years ago.

Francisco Aguirre was the first person to seek sanctuary at Augustana in 2014. He slept on the altar of the church for the first two nights, ultimately calling the church home for three months.

Three years later with more raids and deportations in the headlines Aguirre and the congregation want to walk in solidarity.

There are two reasons for this walk, first, Aguirre is required to check in at the ICE Office Thursday. Second, to show support for those like Aguirre fighting to stay in the United States.

“As many times as they request, they say when I have to check in whatever time and day,” Aguirre said. “It does make me nervous, it’s scary to be honest its very scary, I’m intimidated to go and report to them.”

Reverend Mark Knutson accompanied Aguirre inside the ICE building while the others waited outside.

“It’s important not only to have people outside but have people go inside with them to let them know the community is watching,” Rev. Knutson said.

Rev. Knutson said part of being a sanctuary church is not just giving people a place to be safe, but also accompanying anyone who needs it to meetings with ICE or other government officials.

“It’s amazing to see all that support come up,” Aguirre said.

SOURCE: Kellee Azar
KATU News