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Will President Trump's Speech To Congress Ease Immigrants' Fears?

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And the president will have a big stage tonight as he addresses a joint session of Congress. The White House says President Trump will offer an optimistic vision.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Reverend Keary Kincannon is the guest tonight of Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia. Kincannon will be listening for what the president says about immigration.

KEARY KINCANNON: Oh, I'm just waiting to hear what he does say. I don't expect him to say anything that's going to ease any of the fears in our community.

GREENE: Fears about President Trump's executive orders on immigration have been running high at Kincannon's church, Rising Hope Methodist. It's in Alexandria, Va. Three weeks ago, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, agents reportedly swooped down on a group of Latino men crossing the street in front of that church.

KINCANNON: The way I have heard the story is that a dozen or so ICE agents pounced on them, shoved them against the wall, frisked them, handcuffed them and interrogated them for over two hours. This really had all the marks of being a sweep or a roundup.

INSKEEP: One of the people detained had spent the night at the church's winter shelter and remains unaccounted for.

KINCANNON: I don't know anybody that has a problem with ICE picking up people that they know have serious felonies, violent crimes. But we're hearing lots of stories of people with just minor misdemeanors or even people that have green cards with minor misdemeanors that are being picked up.

GREENE: Reverend Kincannon says now members of his parish feel like ICE could go after anyone. One woman who goes to his church was born here, and even she is nervous.

KINCANNON: She is obviously Latina. She speaks with an accent. And she is so fearful that she's gone to carrying her birth certificate with her now at all times.

INSKEEP: Kincannon says he's urging people to hold on to their faith. And he says he's returned to basic Christian teachings.

KINCANNON: Jesus is very clear that we are to love our neighbor and that our neighbor includes everyone. And that doesn't mean that we have to do away with immigration rules. It just means that we treat everyone with compassion.

GREENE: That is the Reverend Keary Kincannon. He will be attending President Donald Trump's speech to a joint session of Congress tonight.

(SOUNDBITE OF DELAVEGA'S "ON MY MIND") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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