The Rev. Robin Hynicka and his congregation are certainly circumventing U.S. immigration law by sheltering an illegal immigrant inside the Arch St. Methodist Church in Philadelphia. But Rev. Hynicka answers to a higher law. He says the immigration policy ordering the deportation of Javier Flores Garcia is unjust – a law God gives him the power to question. And he’s not the only cleric in the U.S. who feels and acts this way. As Scott Pelley reports, Arch St. Methodist is just one of more than 800 churches and synagogues offering sanctuary to illegal immigrants in response to the new crackdown ordered by the Trump administration. Pelley’s report will be broadcast on 60 Minutes Sunday, May 21 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
“When a law breaks the backs of God’s people then it’s time for us to think about breaking those laws,” says Rev. Hynicka. Flores Garcia has three children who are U.S. citizens, so to avoid a separation, he moved into Arch St. Church. He has lived in the U.S. for 20 years and has a decade-old DUI on his record. For that and repeatedly crossing the border, a judge ordered him deported.
“When a law breaks the backs of God’s people then it’s time for us to think about breaking those laws.” Rev. Hynicka
Rev. Hynicka says man’s law in this case goes against God’s law. “It’s injustice and oppression all of which is evil,” he tells Pelley. “When a human being’s human rights are denied, when they can’t stay with their family, when they can’t work, when they can’t participate in the community in which they have deep roots, all of those apply.”
As the deputy director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), its Daniel Ragsdale’s job to uphold this law. But he understands the human part of this mini-rebellion by the clergy. “As a human being, I know it is traumatic for folks,” says Ragsdale. “But I will also say that the rule of law is…