According to reports from several news sources, undocumented aliens who have been deported, or who are facing imminent deportation, are now being charged by Immigration Services in amounts ranging from a few hundred dollars to over a hundred thousand dollars. The charges, officials say, are for the paperwork, travel, and legal staffing necessary to legally send men, women, and children back to their country of origin.
Almost all of these undocumented immigrants have been taking refuge or took refuge in houses of worship across the United States, including in Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, Episcopalian, Methodist, and Mennonite chapels. According to several newspaper accounts, some of these illegal immigrants have been granted sanctuary and have been living in religious buildings for more than twenty years.
Experts in Washington say the Trump administration is hoping this latest financial crackdown on “those who abuse religious sanctuary traditions in order to flout the immigration laws” will force many more illegal immigrants to come forward and accept deportation in return for a lessening or complete forgiveness of the money they are being dunned for by ICE officials, under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Officials in Washington have not yet released their proposed methods of collecting these fees, but many on Capitol Hill expect new legislation that will hold family members still in the United States responsible for any unpaid debts owed by deportees.