IndyCAN continues push for Indianapolis to become a “sanctuary” for vulnerable families

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—A delegation of community leaders and activist is seeking out the Sheriff of Indianapolis Monday morning to talk about protecting families.

Sheriff John Layton was noticeably absent from the Indianapolis Congregational Action Network (IndyCAN) public rally Sunday. Organizers announced they would send a group to the sheriff’s office at 11 a.m. Monday morning to discuss local enforcement of federal policies they view as unfairly targeting minorities.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) issued a response Monday morning explaining that Sheriff has no legal authority to declare the county a “sanctuary.”

According to MCSO, Layton did not attend IndyCAN’s Sunday rally because of pending litigation involving MCSO’s cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. A representative from the office said IndyCAN’s request that MCSO cease operating with federal law enforcement has been happening for several years and is not unique to President Trump’s administration.

IndyCAN’s mission is to represent and empower those who live, work and worship in central Indiana. It’s not limited to any one religion; the organization consists of religious members from Muslim, Christian and Jewish faiths.

Sunday hundreds gathered together and called upon city leaders to protect families and ensure local resources are not used to advance efforts they believe target immigrants, Muslims and other vulnerable families.

“Our brothers and sisters are hurting, as people of faith have always done, we are about caring about one another and caring for the most vulnerable among us,” Pastor Linda McCrae of Central Christian Church said, addressing the crowd.

“We come from many traditions, but we stand together in the tradition of our ancestors for compassion, and justice and love,” McCrae added.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett was among the elected officials who attended the rally. His remarks were met with a standing ovation when he said the Circle City would welcome all immigrants.

“I vow again today, for all to hear, that no one in our city will be stripped of their privileges that are rightly secured to them as members of this community,” Hogsett said, urging inclusivity.

“As a city we are committed to all stakeholders to ensure that not one dime of city resources fund anything that a court has determined to be discriminatory and unconstitutional,” Hogsett added.

Ana Ruiz is a volunteer at IndyCAN. As an immigrant from Mexico, Ruiz said she and others want to make sure Indianapolis does not enforce policies like ‘stop and frisk’ or participate in ICE raids to detain immigrants.

Listening to Mayor Joe Hogsett, Ruiz said she felt uplifted.

“We still have to make sure he has to follow through with his words,” Ruiz added.

IndyCAN is now launching the Indy Sanctuary Rapid Response Network. Sunday, they asked members to “show up powerfully” for their neighbors when they hear about any possible ICE raids, stop and frisk, or other perceived rights violations within the city.

“It’s not a requirement for you to show up every time,” said an IndyCAN volunteer, “we are one body, one voice, united we stand.”

Anyone interested in receive text alerts to mobilize in response was asked to text “IndySanctuary” to 228466.

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