Thus says our God, render true judgements, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart. – Zechariah 7:9-10
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ – Philippians 3:20
The Sanctuary Movement was a religious and political campaign in the United States that began in the early 1980’s to provide protection, and shelter for persons from Central America fleeing conflict and violence. Federal Immigration policies made obtaining asylum difficult, and faith communities understood it as their Christian moral responsibility to fulfill the commandment to love and protect their neighbors.
Now in 2017 as racism and xenophobia begin to magnify and increase the social and legislative criminalization of people who immigrate – many church communities are yet again desiring to become a part of the movement to help protect and shelter people who may be targeted for detention, and deportation. This page hopes to answer the need for resources in various congregations as they discern how they will participate in a revitalized Sanctuary Movement.
The United States has seen a rise in the racist profiling, and targeting for violence those who are or who are perceived to be an immigrant. Vulnerability is compounded depending on a person’s document status, and other intersections of ethnicity, language, religion, sexuality, and gender identity.
Different congregations and members of our churches will have different gifts and ways to contribute. Participating in Sanctuary Movement and resistance will also have a different impact on communities depending on their relationship to these issues; you or your community may be directly impacted and/or targeted, you may belong to a community or group who can draw connections and actions of solidarity under oppression, and/or you may be a community or person with a specific kind of privilege or power you can recognize and leverage for the good of all people.
Watch the NCNC-UCC Webinar on Becoming A Sanctuary Church (must create or have a zoom account) : https://zoom.us/recording/play/tRbwRBshKv2Aqeu960lVUNPbnG-yXGdrdpUMX1eylJjT-F6jM1gn_VWkQlfwZqd0
Immigration 101: Understanding Current Immigration Processes, and Law
Immigration Customs Enforcement, Raid Rapid Response Toolkit for Faith Allies: Response Toolkit
Guidelines for Reporting Immigration/Law Enforcement Presence or Actions on Social Media: Social Media Guidelines
Northern California – Nevada Organizations and Resources
Centro Legal de La Raza Oakland
Arab Resource and Organizing Center San Francisco
Black Alliance for Just Immigration Bay Area
www.surjbayarea.org Organizing white communities for racial justice, Bay/Northern California
https://www.immigrationadvocates.org/nonprofit/legaldirectory/search?state=CA Various immigration resources and organizations throughout California
Immigration Justice Campaign Nevada
East Bay Sanctuary dedicated to offering sanctuary, solidarity, support, and community organizing assistance, advocacy, and legal services to those escaping war, terror, political persecution, intolerance, exploitation, and other expressions of violence.
United Church of Christ Resources
Church Websites, Congregational Church of San Mateo Sanctuary Resource Page: Here is a good example of what building a sanctuary page on your social media could look like http://ccsm-ucc.org/sanctuary-movement/
The Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity published this guide for Faith Community Sanctuary Actions:
What Does Sanctuary Look Like Today?:
A public, corporate commitment to walk alongside immigrants, mixed-status families, refugees and other targeted communities to uphold the dignity, due process and full acceptance and participation of all people in our society through protection, support and advocacy. Congregations can write their own statement of sanctuary to reflect what they specifically will do.
Here are 4 ways Congregations are demonstrating their commitment to Sanctuary:
Physical Sanctuary for someone facing Final Deportation:
- Discern if your congregation would be willing to offer Sanctuary for a person facing final deportation orders in a humanitarian emergency. Most often, these are people who have been long term residents, already have children, family and community ties to the area and have exhausted all other legal options to remain with their family here in the United States.
- By offering Sanctuary, your congregation is willing to offer physical sanctuary on religious property, as a way to protect them from the reach of ICE. Your congregation would be supported by other congregations and community groups committing to be part of a local network of Sanctuary by assisting with hospitality, protection, and advocacy.
Accompaniment of Immigrant Families or Youth:
Individuals and congregations can immediately help accompany immigrants in urgent situations and need of accompaniment. This can include newly arrived migrant families, unaccompanied minors, people facing deportation crisis, those just released from detention centers. Trained volunteers can help to provide courtroom accompaniment, access to services, and concrete and emotional support and/or transitional housing to help those in a period of crisis.
- Advocate at the Local, State and National level for policies which protect the due process of immigrants and promote their full dignity and integration into our local communities.
- Advocating for policies which help to prevent mass deportation and fear by creating clear separation between ICE and local law enforcement and civic institutions, for example strong sanctuary city and county policies.
- Engage in local public actions and activities to shift public discourse towards immigrants, Muslims, and refugees, and bring attention to our responsibility to address root causes.
Networks of Protection & Rapid Response
- Join a Rapid Response Network to respond to ICE workplace raids, home raids or other enforcement activity.
- Connect with targeted communities to help develop relationship and networks of protection.
JOIN THE SANCTUARY COALITION: For info call: (510) 343-5767 or SANCTUARY@im4humanintegrity.org
NATIONAL SANCTUARY PLEDGE: bit.ly/sanctuarypledge
As people of faith and people of conscience, we pledge to resist the newly elected administration’s policy proposals to target and deport millions of undocumented immigrants and discriminate against marginalized communities. We will open up our congregations and communities as sanctuary spaces for those targeted by hate, and work alongside our friends, families, and neighbors to ensure the dignity and human rights of all peoples. Every human person is sacred across all borders.
Calling upon the ancient traditions of our faiths, which recognized houses of worship as a refuge for the runaway slave, the conscientious objector, and the Central American refugee fleeing the civil wars of the 1980s, sanctuary is once again growing among communities of faith that are standing in solidarity with immigrants and marginalized communities facing immoral and unjust deportation and discrimination policies.
We find ourselves entering a new phase of U.S. history wherein the politics of fear has stoked an atmosphere of racism and xenophobia across the country. The new Administration has pledged to criminalize, detain and deport undocumented people at new levels that will tear families and communities apart.
As people of faith and people of conscience, we will take civil initiative out of our moral obligation to embody principles of human rights and dignity, and resist any harmful and unjust policy proposals that further undermine due process and lead to racial profiling and discrimination.
We are dedicating ourselves to educate and activate our congregations, to amplify and respond to the voices of immigrant leaders, and to speak out against the discrimination of any and all marginalized people. We are ready to open the doors of our sacred spaces and accompany those facing deportation and discrimination.
We support those answering the call to provide sanctuary at schools, hospitals, college campuses, community centers and family homes. We will work with partner organizations to create sacred space of sanctuary wherever it is needed.
Contact us for More info: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: (510) 343-5767
National Sanctuary Resources & Toolkit: www.sanctuarynotdeportation.org
Sanctuary Film: https://vimeo.com/189690725
Sanctuary City Policies https://www.ilrc.org/sites/default/files/resources/sanctuary_report_final_1-min.pdf
LEGAL IMPLICATIONS: Persons seeking or given sanctuary at locations of worship like a congregation can still be arrested if they are undocumented or have a vulnerable status. The U.S. Immigration and Nationality act prohibits anyone from knowingly harboring an undocumented person, “in any place including a building.” Those who do so take on the responsibility and risk of possible conviction, and incarceration. However, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the past has a practice of avoiding, “sensitive locations”, for conducting searches or arrests such as a church or location of a faith community because of publicity reasons. The same privilege extends to many Pastors, who will often not have charges brought against them as leaders and representatives of faith communities. It is important for leaders, congregations, and persons they are helping protect or provide sanctuary for to have a full understanding of the risks and consequences.
How faith communities are stopping deportations,
10 Undocumented Black and LGBTQIA+ Activists you need to know,
The UndocuQueer Movement,
Mental Health Resources for Queer and Transgender People of Color,
Non-Violent Direct Action Guide,