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Churches Seek to Aid Illegal Immigrants after Government Announces Harsher Policies

  • Veronica Neffinger

    Veronica Neffinger wrote her first poem at age seven and went on to study English in college, focusing on 18th century literature. When she is not listening to baseball games, enjoying the…

  • 2015 Dec 28

A number of U.S. churches are providing sanctuary to undocumented immigrants after the government announced that it will be launching new efforts to deport those who are in the country illegally.

Christian Today reports that the Department of Homeland Security plans to conduct large-scale raids in an effort to deport illegal immigrants. The raids could begin as early as January.

Some churches, however, believe it is their job to provide asylum to those who came to the U.S. seeking a better life and an escape from poverty, drugs, and violence in their home countries.

The churches have started what is called the Sanctuary Movement. The Movement has sheltered at least 10 immigrants who were facing deportation in the past 18 months. 

“As pastors we know that each and every family is a holy family," said the Rev. Alison Harrington, pastor of Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona, according to Reuters. "We open our doors to today's Josephs and Marys. The gift we have to offer on Christmas Day is the gift of sanctuary."

Rev. Noel Anderson added that there are about 300 congregations that support the Movement nationwide.

Although the U.S. government passed a law in 2008 which prohibits sending undocumented Central American children back to their home countries, many fear that the new efforts to crack down on illegal immigration will end up targeting whole families.

Churches are not the only ones pushing back against the government’s new policy. Democratic presidential candidates, as well as human rights groups, have voiced their disagreement with the plan.

Photo courtesy: Religion News Service

Publication date: December 28, 2015