Back in the 1980s, a network of U.S. churches and synagogues offered sanctuary to Central American refugees and organized an “overground railroad” to take them to safety in Canada. Now the U.S. immigration raids directed at Central American women and children are inspiring a new round of sanctuary churches.
NPR reports that 12 religious congregations have harbored immigrants this time around — a far cry from around 500 in the 1980s. But, reports NPR, “Church World Service says it knows of more than 300 congregations in 30 states eager to support the new sanctuary movement.”
Tucson’s Southside Presbyterian Church is a stalwart, offering sanctuary then and now. St. Andrew’s Presbyterian took in a Guatemalan mother and son in January. North Hills Methodist Church is one of three Los Angeles area churches to join in, according to the Los Angeles Times. And, reports NPR,
“The new sanctuary movement is having some success. Since the current ICE crackdown, 11 of 13 immigrants who have sought protection in churches have gotten stays of deportation after their cases were made public, reports Church World Service.”