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African churches must not give shelter to illegals - GNIB

Last update - Thursday, February 25, 2010, 11:32 By Catherine Reilly

AFRICAN CHURCH leaders in Ireland must not allow congregation members to sleep overnight at church premises, the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) has warned. Several African pastors met with Superintendent John O’Driscoll of the GNIB last week, following an incident in October when up to six immigration officers entered a north Dublin branch of a popular African-run Christian faith organisation, looking for people on deportation lists.

According to Pastor Amos Ngugi of Act of Compassion Ministries, it was underlined during the meeting that some people facing deportation are giving false addresses – or even supplying the address of their church.
“If they are using it as a personal address it will be difficult [for Garda officers] not to go in,” said Pastor Ngugi, concerning the message put across during the meeting.
Pastor Ngugi, who attended the meeting with several other African pastors, also spoke of other immigration headaches that gardaí are encountering, including Irish-born babies’ passports being illegally used to bring in other young children.
A particularly extraordinary revelation at the meeting was that immigrant partygoers regularly ‘shop’ fellow immigrants who they know are undocumented – tipping gardaí off concerning parties where many of these people may congregate.
Pastor Thomas Sackey of Joy Christian Chapel International, who also attended the meeting, said such tip-offs might be inspired by jealously, citing the possibility that the undocumented fellow partygoer is wearing a better “outfit” than the informant.
Speaking generally on the obligations of immigrants, he underlined that the Bible calls on citizens of any land to obey those in authority.
No high-profile deportation raids have occurred since March 2005, when immigration gardaí entered schools in Athlone searching for Nigerian-born children to deport with their mothers.

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