DENVER, CO- What’s the old saying?  There’s no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole?  

In Denver, Colorado, a 31-year-old illegal alien from Mexico who has been residing within the United States for twenty years is avoiding deportation by staying at a “sanctuary church”.

The man, who has alleged gang ties as well as previous criminal convictions, has been exploiting Immigration and Customs Enforcement internal policies to thwart a final deportation order from the agency.

Jorge Araiza Avila decided that instead of appearing for a check-in with ICE back in December 2019, he’d plant himself at the Park Hill United Methodist Church, which considers itself to be an illegal alien sanctuary.

The move is an obvious means to take advantage of the internal policy ICE has to avoid commencing operations on what’s known as “sensitive locations”.

The general rule within the agency is that agents will avoid commencing operations at areas like schools, hospitals, churches, weddings or funerals, and at planned demonstrations like rallies or parades.

Avila explained his rationale for taking up residence at the church:

“I made the decision to enter sanctuary because it’s very important to me to fight for my case, since I’m sure that I have been a good citizen, contributing every year with my job and always reporting my taxes, doing what I should do as a taxpayer in this country.”

First of all, Avila isn’t a “citizen”, so it’s literally impossible for him to be a “good” one. Secondly, ICE had some choice words to describe just how “contributing” this individual is:

“Mexican citizen Jorge Eduardo Araiza, 31, aka Jorge Araiza Ávila, a member of the Sureno 13 gang, is illegally present in the U.S. and considered a wanted fugitive by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).”

That’s not where the details end on Avila either, as the released statement by ICE also notes:

“Araiza has multiple criminal convictions to include illegal weapons possession, illegal use of slugs, trespassing, among others, spanning several years.”

Apparently, Avila came into the United States in 2000, and had first made contact with ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations in September 2011.

He was then placed into immigration proceedings and failed to appear before the judge in August of 2012. Due to his missed court appearance, an immigration judge had ordered him to be removed for failing to appear.

Avila had appealed the decision, and was subsequently granted an opportunity to “voluntarily depart” in January 2018 – and Avila wound up staying in the country anyway.

In another attempt to appeal the outcome. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals denied Avila’s request and he’s now subject to a final order of removal.

Which is now how we’re at Avila trying to set up shop inside of a church, because ICE can’t step foot in there.

Or can they?

Well, the “sensitive location” policy is what’s known as a “general rule”. There’s nothing legally binding about the policy.

Enforcement operations in sensitive locations can commence under proper authorization by various superiors – or if there’s an “immediate need” for someone to be apprehended. The memorandum reflects this by stating:

“The policy is not intended to categorically prohibit lawful enforcement operations when there is an immediate need for enforcement action as outlined below.”

While officials from Park Hill UMC believe they’re doing the Godly thing in this case, what they’re actually doing is hindering law enforcement from doing their jobs.

Whether or not Avila was brought here as a child has nothing to do with the fact that he violated law while in the United States, kept skipping out on immigration hearings, and is now avoiding a lawful deportation order.

At this point, ICE should flex their jurisdictional muscle and just apprehend Avila from the church.

In the meantime on the East Coast, Connecticut is refusing to cooperate with ICE efforts to apprehend potentially dangerous immigrants who are in the country illegally.

Now the federal agency is issuing subpoenas to the state judiciary in an effort to get the records of those who have been arrested, but are being protected by the state. 

“It’s unfortunate that elected officials in Connecticut seem unable to grasp the public safety threat posed by the criminal illegal aliens these officials are attempting to shield,” said Todd M. Lyons.

He’s an acting regional officer for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Boston.

“These are the same criminals who’ve already been arrested for crimes by state and/or local law enforcement, often perpetrated against the very immigrant communities these officials claim to be protecting.

Despite these short-sighted, reckless ‘sanctuary-for-criminal-aliens’ policies, ICE will continue to use all available legal tools to safeguard the public.”

The state remained quiet on the matter. From the governor’ office to the state judicial branch, to the Department of Corrections, no one had a comment. The latter has been accused by ICE agents of “refusing to provide information on undocumented immigrants in custody, said it is department policy not to discuss active litigation.”

ICE agents arrest a Brazilian national wanted on a murder charge in his home country.ICE

Courtesy: ICE

The ACLU of Connecticut fired back at ICE late Thursday, arguing immigration authorities are trying to bully Connecticut into participating in a “cruel deportation agenda.”

“The Trump administration is trying to bully Connecticut, just as it has tried to bully cities, into cooperating with its cruel deportation agenda,” said David McGuire.

He’s the executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut.

“Connecticut is a state of immigrants, and it always will be. Our state’s laws to protect immigrants serve the interests of public safety and community well-being.

Connecticut officials need to resist the federal government’s deportation agenda and bullying tactics by standing strong to protect the thousands of immigrant families who call this state home.”

The ACLU statement conveniently leaves out a word…illegal.

ICE is not looking to deport legal immigrants. It is those who are here illegally that they are looking for. They are after the criminal immigrants. Those on the right said of the law are safe. 

Connecticut goes a step further than just not cooperating and communicating with ICE. They require that any ICE ‘targets’ be notified that they are a target and all records be made public and filed with the state. Then and only then will they consider cooperating. 

According to the Hartford Courant, this debate reached a flash point in late October when federal agents complained they were blocked by a state judicial marshal from entering the state Superior Court in Derby. 

That happened where they were trying to take into custody a Jamaican national who had over stayed his visa and was appearing in court to face charges of misdemeanor assault, threatening and breach of peace arising from a domestic dispute. 

Immigration agents complained that the marshal initially denied them access to the court and alerted the suspect, who avoided apprehension by taking refuge in the law offices of the public defender. The marshal was fired after an internal investigation by the state Judicial Branch.

The Courant further states that immigration authorities are trying to gather information “on multiple illegal aliens who were criminally arrested in Connecticut.”

They said Connecticut has adopted “non-cooperation policies” and the state is refusing to honor immigration detainers or provide information about the release dates of “criminal alien public safety threats.”

The federal agents said they were forced to issue subpoenas because the corrections department “has continued to ignore ICE’s requests for information and cooperation.” The regional Immigration and Customs Enforcement office said in a written statement Thursday that it “has not historically needed” to issue subpoenas because most states cooperate.

ICE provided a list of criminal immigrants that it is seeking information to. The list includes:

  • A 31-year-old, undocumented Honduran who was convicted of manslaughter following a fatal, hit-and-run crash in New Haven in 2016. ICE said he was released after serving three years, in spite of a final order of removal by an immigration judge and an ICE detainer order.
  • A 20-year-old Guatemalan facing a final order of removal after his conviction for burglary and robbery in 2019. ICE said he was released from state custody last month.
  • A 21-year-old citizen of the Dominican Republic who was released following a conviction for possession and sale of narcotics.
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