GARDEN GROVE – Rep. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, raised concerns Friday, March 17, to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly about photos of what appeared to be a vehicle from his agency “patrolling” at Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove.
The congressman received the photos from the Diocese of Orange.
“Christ Cathedral is my church,” Correa said. “I know what it looks like, and these photos clearly show an ICE vehicle staking out the parking lot. This is despicable, and this behavior must end. It is intimidation, and it is wrong.”
ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said the vehicle shown in the photos “belongs to another agency, not U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
Andrew Scibetta, a spokesman for Correa, said it appears the vehicle was from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, another agency under Homeland Security.
“That’s got us even more worried now,” Scibetta said. “Why are they all the way up here patrolling a church?”
The explanation from CBP may shed light on the vehicle’s presence at the church.
“On February 17, 2017, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer from the Los Angeles CBP Honor Guard attended the funeral of a military veteran at the Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove, California,” according to a CBP statement.
“The CBP Honor Guard has a proud tradition of routinely attending memorial services to honor law enforcement and military personnel who have bravely served their country.”
The agency “was not conducting any law enforcement operations in or around the Christ Cathedral or immediate area,” it said.
Diocese of Orange spokesman Ryan Lilyengren said the vehicle was seen on the Christ Cathedral campus on Feb. 17.
“In response to this incident, the Most Rev. Kevin Vann, Bishop of Orange, wrote a personal letter to (Kelly) expressing his concern about this situation,” Lilyengren said. “Additionally, Bishop Vann issued organizational and legal guidance to the 62 parishes and 41…