Churches Announce New Sanctuary Movement

Anglican Journal, June-July 2007 | Go to article overview
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Churches Announce New Sanctuary Movement


New York

Members of the religious community in the United States are reviving the ."sanctuary movement" of the 1980s by launching a national drive to protect undocumented workers who face possible deportation from the U.S.

The sanctuary movement two decades ago offered protection in the United States to refugees fleeing wars in Central America. The new effort will be based on local congregations, and will provide assistance to undocumented workers who face the threat of being deported because they do not have the proper papers to work legally.

"We are responding to a broken system that is increasingly creating broken families, and broken lives," said Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, a leader of the New Sanctuary Movement.

The movement is multi-faith, with Jewish, Muslim and Christian groups involved. More than 50 congregations in the U.S. have committed themselves to the campaign.

According to some estimates, there are about 12 million undocumented persons in the U.S. Places of worship that will participate in the New Sanctuary Movement say they hope to offer shelter, financial help, assistance from immigration lawyers, and, in some cases, actual physical sanctuary.

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