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• Can Immigration and Naturalization Service agents lawfully attend church services with hidden microphones for the sole purpose of tape recording the services in an attempt to determine whether or not the churches were violating immigration law? That was the issue before a federal appeals court in a recent case. In early 1984, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) initiated an undercover investigation of the "sanctuary movement" (an effort by a loosely knit group of clergy and lay people to aid refugees from El Salvador and Guatemala). Several INS agents wearing "body bugs" (hidden microphones) infiltrated four Arizona churches (three Presbyterian and one Lutheran) without search warrants or even probable cause to believe that the surveillance of the churches would uncover evidence of criminal activity. The agents attended and secretly tape recorded several services and ...

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  • November 1, 1989