Tags: Donald Trump | Homeland Security | Immigration | Religion | Trump Refugee Ban | churches | sanctuary

Churches Offer Sanctuary to Illegal Immigrants

Image: Churches Offer Sanctuary to Illegal Immigrants
(Getty Images/Sandy Huffaker)

By    |   Monday, 06 Mar 2017 06:08 PM

Churches and other houses of worship are increasingly turning their spaces into sanctuaries for people in the country illegally who fear deportation under President Donald Trump's administration.

The move began during former President Barack Obama's tenure, but has been stepped up amid Trump's promise for a border wall and deportations of illegal immigrants.

Though the Obama White House deported the undocumented, it considered churches and schools to be safe places. It is not known if Trump's administration will continue that practice, leaving those seeking shelter there concerned, and the leadership and congregations of such churches looking for plans if immigration agents decide to come inside.

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas is currently housing 29-year-old Hilda Ramirez and her 10-year-old son Ivan, and pastor Jim Rigby told Yahoo News he knows there is a risk.

"Hilda and her son aren't even 5 feet tall, yet President Trump has made people afraid of them, calling them criminals when they are just trying to escape violence," Rigby said.

Ramirez said she fled Guatemala because the father of her son, whom she bore as the result of rape, threatened to kill her for not giving him custody.

"There's a risk here, but we won't turn them away," Rigby said. "To me, you can't call yourself a church if you don't open your doors when there is a need."

The number of churches participating in the effort has doubled since Trump's election in November, according to the Church World Service, which ministers to immigrants and refugees.

The 400 churches who had been involved during the Obama administration now stands at 800 and continues to increase, according to Yahoo News.

Last week, Church World Service joined the National Council of Churches to ask its 30 million members in the United States to lobby Congress and the White House against the temporary travel ban on refugees from what had been seven majority Muslim countries that have ties to terrorism. Trump issued an amended order Monday, removing Iraq from the list.

The only way to confront a big bully is with an even bigger love," the Rev. Robert M. Hardies recently preached at Washington, D.C.'s All Souls Unitarian, Washington City Paper reported.

Though many leaders in Catholic and mainline denominations favor sanctuary for illegal immigrants, not all of their parishoners are in agreement. And those from evangelical churches are much more likely to agree with Trump's travel ban, according to the Pew Research Center.

Overall, 59 percent disapprove of the ban, but 76 percent of white evangelicals favor it. And 62 percent of all Catholics are against the ban, but while white Catholics were evenly split, Hispanics and other ethnic groups opposed it by 81 percent.

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Churches and other houses of worship are increasingly turning their spaces into sanctuaries for people in the country illegally who fear deportation under President Donald Trump's administration.
churches, sanctuary, illegal immigrants, travel ban, deportation
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2017-08-06
Monday, 06 Mar 2017 06:08 PM
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