Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Border Patrol at Church? They weren't there for Mass.
A churchgoer says he and several others will not be going back to pray, because of who might show up. Raul Atkinson did not want to appear on camera, but agreed to talk with us about why he’s afraid to go to church.
He says he has faith and always makes time to pray. But Atkinson says he never thought he’d skip out on a service until some Border Patrol agents showed up.
Atkinson claims they weren’t there for mass. Instead, they were looking for information.
“We didn’t know what was going on. They just walked into our church asking for papers and IDs. And the ones that didn’t have any, they were picked up,” says Atkinson.
Atkinson tells us he watched as agents took a woman and children into custody. He says at first, he thought it was some sort of raid.
Atkinson says they were picked up during their prayer. He says no one was given a heads up and that Border Patrol agents walked right through the door and started asking for documents.
Border Patrol Agent John Lopez says no record of any arrests inside the Apostolic Assembly exists.
“As for as places that are worship centers, we will not - by policy, we will not enter these places, unless it’s absolutely necessary,” Lopez explains.
Atkinson says he’s been keeping in touch with the pastor. He hopes to be back in church soon so he can attend mass in peace without any interruptions or fear.
Since Border Patrol agents told us they did not go into the church, we checked with ICE officials. They also said there was no record of agents going into the church.