A pastor in New York City is suing the federal government, claiming the government unlawfully detained and monitored her because of her charity work with immigrants.
Rev. Kaji Douša, senior pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, filed the suit Monday in United States District Court for the Southern District of California. The Park Avenue Christian Church is affiliated with both the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ.
According to the Christian Post, Douša named the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement department and other government officials in her suit.
On Tuesday, the pastor released a statement detailing her lawsuit.
“My country has decided to punish me. But I will not look away,” Douša proclaimed. “I will continue to look closely—to listen, to imagine, and to call us into a better way. Free me and my colleagues to do our work with migrants and we will find that better way,” she added.
According to the Christian Post, Douša says she was unlawfully detained and interrogated by border security in January while she worked at a mobile clinic in Tijuana, Mexico.
She also said that the government tracked her activities in New York, including events supporting immigration. The suit also alleges that she was added to a covert government database of people who work with migrants.
Her lawsuit against the federal government seeks injunctive relief, saying she was “targeted” and their actions “impede her ministry, through and through.”
“It burdens her ability to continue answering God’s call to minister to migrants and refugees, which cannot happen without confidence in confidentiality,” the suit reads.
“Defendants’ surveillance of Pastor Dousa has diminished attendance of migrants at church services she leads, depriving her of the ability to minister to her congregation and the community at large.”
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