This week I learned about the New Sanctuary Movement. The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. sponsored a webinar about responding in faith to continuing deportations. Jen Riddle, Advocacy Attorney for the State and Local Immigration Project, reminded us of the 1980’s, when many religious communities in the United States offered safe-havens for refugees fleeing Central America. Over 1,000 congregations of various denominations formed the original Sanctuary Movement, with approximately 150 housing undocumented families. With yet another failure of Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform and the Administration’s continued deportation of large numbers of non-criminal immigrants, several religious communities have revived the Sanctuary Movement and adapted it to today’s context. Over two dozen churches are now offering shelter to individuals who have been ordered deported but do not meet Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s stated priorities for deportation (individuals who have broken criminal laws, have repeatedly violated the immigration laws, have recently crossed our border, or are fugitives from immigration court). In addition to providing sanctuary, churches are calling on immigration authorities to exercise their discretion to postpone or dismiss orders of deportation against those in sanctuary. This includes mobilizing the community, bringing media attention to the case, and publicly advocating that the Department of Homeland Security and the White House not deport law-abiding immigrants who work, pay taxes, and are valued members of communities. More than 130 organizations are offering their support to the movement.
What do you think a Precious Blood response might be? Elena Segura is going to be in Sedalia for an all day workshop on January 17 addressing the subjects of Immigration Reform, the journey of the undocumented, and what our faith calls us to do. As you may know, Speaker Boehner is threatening to undermine any executive action of President Obama instead of proactively moving immigration reform legislation forward in the House. Therefore, it is important to plan so that as soon as the President takes action as expected, communities can mobilize to support the just cause of Immigration Reform.
Daryl Charron, C.PP.S.
Editor’s note: if you look up their website on the Internet today (11/20/2014) through the link provided on the above page, it seems to have been hacked. The data on the above page seems good.