Rhode Island debates banning immigration raids at schools, churches

Photo by Lindsey Lerner

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island schools, churches, hospitals and courts would be off-limits to federal immigration enforcement agents under a proposal being considered by state lawmakers.

The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a Tuesday hearing on the bill. It would prohibit what it describes as “sensitive locations” from granting access to federal agents seeking to investigate or detain people for breaking immigration laws. It would create an exception if there’s a warrant out for the person.

The locations protected from raids would include places of worship, as well as religious ceremonies such as weddings and funerals.

Various denominations nationwide have used their buildings to offer some form of sanctuary, including housing, to immigrants fearing deportation.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Jean Philippe Barros, a Pawtucket Democrat. It’s co-sponsored by other Democrats.