UPDATE | Catholic Dioceses responds to Tuesday’s ICE raid

YOUNGSTOWN — The Diocese of Youngstown today responded to the Fresh Mark raid “and the current tensions in immigration law a policy,” with a statement from Very Rev. Monsignor Robert J. Siffrin, Vicar General.

“The Catholic Church in the United States is an immigrant Church with a long history of embracing diverse newcomers and providing assistance and pastoral care to immigrants,” he said. “Our Church has responded to Christ’s call for us to ‘welcome the stranger among us,’ for in this encounter with the immigrant, the migrant, and the refugee in our midst, we encounter Christ. The Catholic Church supports the human rights of all people and offers them pastoral care, education, and social services, especially those who find themselves in desperate circumstances.”

The statement went on to say the family “is the central social institution that must be supported and strengthened, not undermined” and that the Catholic Church “decries” the impact of separating children from their families.

Locally, Catholic Charities will work with local organizations and churches “to meet the needs of those affected, offering pastoral and practical care.”

“Please join us in praying for the families affected and for just immigration reform,” the Diocese said.

Also responding to news of the Salem raid was Lina Adi of Youngstown, whose father, Amer “Al” Adi Othman was deported by ICE earlier this year after living in the U.S. for more than 30 years and who was a downtown Youngstown business owner.

“It’s crazy to me that it’s gotten this far,” Lina Adi said. “These people come here for a better opportunity and the American dream. It really hit home to hear about it.”

Adi, 25, noted her separation from her own father, and said she couldn’t imagine how difficult it would be for a young child.

“I couldn’t imagine how they feel,” she said.

In a Facebook post, she called on community members to support those affected by the Salem raid, particularly children whose parents were detained.

1:16 p.m.

SALEM — Two local politicians have differing reactions to a raid by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that resulted in the detention of 146 workers at a Salem meat-processing facility.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Cleveland Democrat, pledged to help all those affected by the raid.

“My first concern is for the children who were separated from their families by the raid,” Brown said. “Tearing families apart is not going to fix our broken immigration system.”

He expressed a desire to find a bipartisan solution that creates a pathway to citizenship for law-abiding U.S. residents who work and pay taxes.

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson of Marietta, R-6th, whose district includes Salem, said the raid proves America is serious about enforcing its immigration laws.

“When we finally secure our borders, there will be less need for raids like this,” Johnson said.

He said we should have an open heart to citizens of other countries who need asylum, but we must put American citizens and American interests first.

He added the country can accomplish that without separating parents from their children.

Family members of those detained can call ICE’s 24-hour detainee locator hotline at 1-888-351-4024. The hotline operates in English and Spanish and will answer questions about a person’s detention status and the removal process.

They can also call Brown’s office at 216-522-7272.

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