After ICE agents appear at a Sacramento church, pastor tries to calm his flock's deportation fears

A Sacramento pastor is pleading with his congregants to return to church this Sunday after a recent visit from Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents sparked fears of deportations.

In a series of videos posted this week to the church’s Facebook account, Pastor Alex Vaiz sought to calm his parishioners worries.

“One of your rights is going to church,” he said. “Immigration cannot in any way enter a church and disturb the peace in any way and arrest anyone .… Don’t be afraid to come and return again to your church. You have the right to be here.”

Whether his flock shows up to the Vida Church Sacramento this weekend remains to be seen. But until then, Vaiz is demanding that immigration officials stay off the church’s property.

Did ICE Visit a Church in Del Paso Heights on Mother’s Day?

The word flowed and seats were filled at Sacramento's Vida Church on Sunday.

"There was such a festive environment here already, people walking in, really glad and happy to bring their moms here to church," said Pastor Alex Vaiz.

But that focus changed as a gathering for Mother's Day gave birth to fear when a member spotted something strange.

"'ICE, I think it's ICE,' she said. 'They're in the parking lot,'" remembered Vaiz.

Black man beaten by Sacramento cop legally crossed street, pedestrian groups say

Pedestrian advocates say a Del Paso Heights man legally crossed the street before a police officer stopped him for jaywalking and repeatedly punched him in the face.

Kirin Kumar, executive director of WalkSacramento, said Nandi Cain Jr. did not break any laws when he crossed Grand Avenue at Cypress Street in Del Paso Heights on April 10, based on the organization’s review of Sacramento Police Department dashcam video.


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Her illegal dad: The Obama administration took her father. Now she worries that Trump will come for her.

Her illegal dad: The Obama administration took her father. Now she worries that Trump will come for her.

It’s been nine years since Angela Velazquez last saw her dad. In that time, Angela realizes, she’s inherited a trait that neither she nor her old man particularly wanted—fear.

She felt it that day her little sister didn’t come home, and a young Angela hesitated calling 911 because what if the police took her and her mom? It left her flushed on the side of a street that night a cop discovered she was driving without a license and impounded her car, but left her behind. Six years ago, the fear broke Angela down into panicked sobs when a driver ran a red light and totaled her vehicle. Not because she was hurt, but because she knew the authorities were on their way and was sure this time her luck had run out.

The 27-year-old is one of about 57,000 immigrants thought to be living in Sacramento County without authorization from the U.S. government. Angela came here from Mexico with her parents on a tourism visa when she was about 5. The plan was for her father Alberto to apply for permanent residency and, ultimately, citizenship, but he trusted the wrong lawyer and ended up flagged for deportation.

Mayor, pro-immigrant groups slam immigration enforcement chief’s Sacramento forum

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg took aim Monday at Sheriff Scott Jones’ decision to host a public forum with the nation’s top immigration enforcement official, calling the decision “cynical” and “mean.”

Steinberg said he will be joined by a large group of protesters before the Tuesday forum with Jones and acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan. Labor unions, faith leaders and pro-immigrant groups are expected at the vigil, while state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León is expected to attend the forum.

“This is the worst time for an elected official to organize such a forum to stoke the fears of people, people who are already afraid,” Steinberg said. “We’re going to make it clear that the people of Sacramento stand with those who are just trying to make a place for themselves in our great country and in our great state.”

Sacramento Mayor, city leaders call for unity rally in response to immigration forum

On Tuesday, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones will be holding a community forum on immigration. His main guest is Thomas Homan, Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

In response, Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Sacramento Leaders announced a press conference and unity rally before the forum. 

Sacramento Synagogue Declares Itself a Sanctuary Congregation

Sacramento Synagogue Declares Itself a Sanctuary Congregation

A Sacramento synagogue is declaring itself a sanctuary for refugees and undocumented people living in the United States, in response to rising fears about deportations.

Congregation B’nai Israel voted earlier this month to become a sanctuary. Sacramento Area Congregations Together, or Sacramento ACT, says other churches and synagogues are discussing the issue of sanctuary status.