Phoenix church receiving donations after ICE dropped off immigrants
PHOENIX — A Phoenix church is getting financial assistance after opening its doors to more than 130 asylum-seeking immigrants who were dropped off by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in recent months.
First Church UCC, located near Second Street and McDowell Road, has received financial donations from across the country — including a grant from the national United Church of Christ — since October. It has also received money from a Vermont-based mission outreach.
Church officials said they believe they are placed in Phoenix to love their neighbors and help those in need. With that, they have housed more people than their church is built for, creating issues with their plumbing, dumpsters and overall space.
The church said it will use the donations to update some plumbing and build two shower facilities for the immigrant families.
KTAR News 92.3 FM toured the church and facilities in October. Pastor James Pennington described how their plumbing was failing due to the influx of people staying there.
The church then took in 30 families in November. Some were hosted at the church and some of the church members hosted them at their homes.
But officials with the religious facility said the church is not done taking in immigrants in an effort to make their transition into the U.S. as easy as possible.
“We have decided to undertake housing immigrants as needed once a month,” Yvonne Harrison, who is in charge of social justice and mission outreach at the church, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Thursday.
“Just because it is very labor intensive and we are a relatively small church and we have other missions as well.”