Ongoing Deportations Inspire Revival of Sanctuary Movement

By Julianne Hing Sep 25, 2014

After the summer’s child migrant crisis, President Obama’s postponement of his promised sweeping executive action on immigration, and amidst ongoing deportations, churches are taking a stand. Two dozen churches, inspired by the sanctuary movement of the 1980s, have pledged to offer sanctuary to undocumented immigrants facing deportation, the Arizona Republic reported. 

"In light of this crisis, we are calling for a national response from communities of faith to declare sanctuaries for those facing final orders of deportation," Tucson, Arizona’s Southside Presbyterian Church pastor Alison Harrington said, the Arizona Republic reported. Harrington, who the paper credits with pioneering the original sanctuary movement in the 1980s, called it a move of "last resort" for people who are facing deportation and the communities who support them. Back then, NPR reported, eight church leaders were convicted of smuggling for allowing those immigrants, many who were fleeing war in Central America, to take refuge inside their churches.

This past June, Daniel Neyoy Ruiz was offered a one-year stay on his deporation, NPR reported, after being taken in by the Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona.