A group of religious leaders in Los Angeles has formed a network aimed at sheltering illegal aliens in safe houses across Southern California. The goal of the Rapid Response Network is to provide safe havens in addition to churches and schools, since federal authorities must obtain warrants in order to enter a home.
Pastor Ada Valiente showed off one such home she is renovating in Los Angeles, saying, “It would be three families we host here.”
The families protected in the house will be illegal aliens seeking to avoid detention and possible deportation.
The Rapid Response Team’s goal is to shelter hundreds, possibly thousands, of such individuals.
“That’s what we need to do, as a community, to keep families together,” Valiente says.
The Rapid Response Network grew quickly following President Trump’s initial executive order on immigration. Rev. Zach Hoover, executive director of the interfaith community organization, LA Voice, estimates that 100 people could currently be hidden by the underground network, with the number soon to increase into the thousands.
Hoover is eager to move as many of Los Angeles County’s estimated one million illegal aliens “into a place so that ICE can’t find them … so they can stay with their families; so they can be with their husbands; so they can avoid being detained and deported.”
“Everybody talks about how families are the bedrock of our country. We believe that. Our congregations believe that,” he stated.
In support of the network, some Californians are outfitting rooms in their homes to accommodate those facing deportation.
According to Mark Krikorian, executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, the law is clear regarding the intent and actions of groups like the Rapid Response Network.
“They’re committing a felony. Harboring is a felony,” Krikorian asserts. “Regular folks hiding people in a basement face jail time because it is ultimately a smuggling conspiracy.”
But Valiente and her fellow religious leaders say, “We’re doing what we think is right.”
The construction on Valiente’s safe house is almost complete; she is hoping to begin “hosting” illegal alien families as early as next month.
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