State News

Members of Raleigh church facing deportation after stop

Posted June 16, 2011 4:01 a.m. EDT
Updated June 17, 2011 5:47 a.m. EDT

— Two dozen members of a Raleigh church are facing deportation after a Louisiana traffic stop, and their defenders say they're being treated unjustly.

Members of the Buen Pastor church were pulled over in Louisiana in April 2010 by Customs and Border Protection agents. Twenty-four of them are suspected illegal immigrants. Their case is before the Charlotte Immigration Court.

Supporters of the immigrants plan to hold a press conference, then a prayer vigil Thursday evening at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, 1801 Hillsborough St. in Raleigh.

The Southern Coalition for Social Justice is fighting the deportation. The group says that the church van was pulled over illegally on its way back from a religious ceremony in Texas and that agents mocked and harassed the adults. The coalition plans to file a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.