The head of the Catholic Diocese of Manchester, NH has instructed clergy not to house unauthorized immigrants facing possible deportation.
According to Tom Bebbington, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Manchester, the Bishop had received questions from priests about how to respond to news of increased deportation enforcement. On Friday, the Bishop sent a letter to local church leaders urging them not house unauthorized immigrants in their churches.
Bebbington said trying to protect people from deportation "doesn’t really solve the problem in the long haul," and "probably doesn’t offer them the kind of protection that it appears to."
He added that there is no law preventing immigration enforcement from raiding a church.
The Bishop's letter to churches includes the following: "It also may be helpful to remember that diocesan policy requires my approval before anyone may live in any Church property, even if rent is not charged.”
Instead of housing immigrants, the Bishop refers concerned members of his faith to the Immigration and Refugee Services Office of Catholic Charities of NH.