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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Sanctuary Churches Welcome Immigrants, Despite Possible Backlash from Trump Administration

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2017 Feb 17
  • Comments

Churches that provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants may have to face federal opposition from the Trump administration.

The First Unitarian Society of Denver welcomed Jeanette Vizguerra and her four children to receive sanctuary from a possible deportation by federal authorities.

According to, Vizguerra has lived in the U.S. since 1997. Three of her four children have been born here. In 2009, she pleaded guilty to using a fake ID to be able to get a job. She has reportedly been issued six stays of removal, prompting her decision to seek refuge in the church.

"I did not make this decision lightly," Vizguerra said through an interpreter while speaking at a news conference at the church. "I was thinking about it for weeks. But I think that I made the right decision in coming here, instead of going to the immigration office today."

The church’s pastor, Rev. Mike Moran, expressed the church’s welcome of Vizguerra and their stance on being a sanctuary church: "It is our position as a people of faith that this is sacred, and faithful work. We know Jeanette. We know her to be an honorable human being."

Nevertheless, churches harboring illegal immigrants may have an uphill battle, considering the hard line the Trump administration has taken regarding immigration.

Churches are traditionally recognized as “sensitive locations” under a memo issued by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2011--a policy that is currently still in place.

It remains to be seen if this policy will stay in place under the new administration, however.  


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Publication date: February 17, 2017