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Sanctuary Movement and the Immigrants Rights Movement. Page 2. Goals and Strategy Page 5. Expanding Sanctuary Page PDF

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Sanctuary Not Deportation: A Faithful Witness to Building Welcoming Communities You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, My refuge and
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Sanctuary Not Deportation: A Faithful Witness to Building Welcoming Communities You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust. - Psalm 91:1-2 As the faith community, we are called to accompany our community members, congregants and neighbors facing deportation. Table of Contents Sanctuary Movement and the Immigrants Rights Movement. Page 2 What is Sanctuary?...Page 2-3 An Ancient Tradition of Faith Communities/ The Sanctuary Movement in the 1980s / Sacred Texts / Current Day Sanctuary Movement Goals and Strategy Page 5 Expanding Sanctuary Page 5-6 Talking Points and Messaging Page 6-7 Who is Seeking Sanctuary?...Page 8 How do we Declare Sanctuary?..Page 8-9 Joint Public Declaration of Sanctuary Advocacy..Page 8 Leadership of those in Sanctuary..Page 9 What are the logistics of Sanctuary?...Page 10 Living Arrangements/ Legal Questions / Community Support/ Training other Congregations Communications.Page Sample Press Advisory / Sample Op-Ed / Social Media 1 Sanctuary Movement and the Immigrants Rights Movement People of faith from all traditions called on Congress to pass immigration reform, yet Congress failed to move forward on meaningful legislation. Meanwhile, the deportation machinery grew stronger becoming more advanced under the Obama Administration, with an alarming rate of more than 1,100 people being deported every day, totaling nearly 2.5 million deportations over under this administration. The organizing efforts of undocumented youth in 2012 pushed the administration to create the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has allowed close to a million undocumented students to travel and work legally. In 2014 a resurgence of the Sanctuary Movement began out of need in the community to stop deportations at a case-by-case level. In May of 2014 Daniel Neyoy Ruiz took Sanctuary in Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson Arizona, the same church that helped nearly fifteen thousand political refugees escape the tragic civil wars in Central America during the 1980s. Daniel won a stay of removal after 27 days of living in Sanctuary. As this spread through the media at a time when President Obama was delaying Executive Actions on immigration, many more immigrants facing a deportation order looked to congregations in their region to take refuge and fight to keep their families together. Over the next years more than a dozen people came forward to take refuge in Sanctuary, the majority were able to win a stay of removal or an order of supervision within several months, but the Immigration Customs Enforcement delayed justice on many occasions such as with Rosa Robles-Loreto who only found victory after 461 days of Sanctuary. Some left the church with a written promise from ICE they would not be deported, but they continue to fight their case to gain some sort of relief from deportation. This resurgence of the Sanctuary Movement has created a platform to raise up the prophetic and moral witness while at the same time lifting up the stories of those leaders who are brave enough to speak out against the injustice of deportation. This surly brought significantly increased public pressure on the Obama Administration to announce the President s Executive Action on Immigration on November 20 th, Now, the Sanctuary Movement is playing a critical role again in responding to the post-election reality wherein fear, discrimination and xenophobia have taken a new precedence in our countries politics. Since the Trump administration has promised to deport millions, people of faith have a moral responsibility to act. Sanctuary is a tool that helps escalate these efforts by offering our neighbors who face a deportation order safe refuge and sanctuary in our congregations. Faith Pledge for Sanctuary What is Sanctuary? An Ancient Tradition of Faith Communities Sanctuary is one of the most ancient traditions that we have as a people of faith. The ancient Hebrew people had allowed temples and even whole cities to declare themselves places of refuge for persons accused of a crime they may not have committed, a practice that allowed those wrongfully accused to escape swift and harsh retribution until the matter could be resolved. In the late Roman Empire fugitives could find refuge in the precincts of Christian churches. Later, during the medieval period churches in 2 England were recognized sanctuaries, offering safe haven for a temporary period to accused wrong doers. In the United States the first practical provision of anything like sanctuary occurred in the years before the Civil War. The Underground Railroad came into being to help slaves flee the South and find safety in many congregations throughout the country. Sanctuary is about providing safe space to those who are victims of unjust laws. The Sanctuary Movement in the 1980s When refugees from the Civil Wars in Central America began to flee to the United States in the 1980 s, the U.S. government did not recognize them as political refugees. Many were deported and received by death squads upon their return. From this dire injustice, the Sanctuary Movement was born. It peaked with over 500 congregations establishing an underground railroad whereby refugees move through the United States to safe houses and safe congregations. Many clergy in the Tucson area were indicted and eventually acquitted for their involvement in assisting Central American refugees. The Sanctuary Movement sought to remind the United States government of its own asylum and refugee laws, which they were not following when it came to the refugees of Central America. Sacred Texts God calls people of faith to remember that they once were strangers in a strange land and they must, must welcome the stranger as an expression of covenant faithfulness (Leviticus 19:33-34) We must learn to do good, seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow (Isaiah 1:17) We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:27) LINKS on Sanctuary Movement of the 1980s The Public Sanctuary Movement: A Historical Basis of Hope by Eileen Purcell The Origins of a Political Trial: The Sanctuary Movement and Political Justice by Sophie H. Pririe Current Day Sanctuary Movement Drawing on this tradition, communities of faith have once again seen the need to declare Sanctuary for immigrants as the rise of deportations continues to separate families. In the 1980 s we were compelled by the call to welcome the stranger, as we opened our doors to newly arriving refugees. Now we are moved by the call to love our neighbors as ourselves, as those who are entering into Sanctuary are most often long term members of our communities - our neighbors. In 2007, an initiative known as the New Sanctuary Movement took shape with coalitions of congregations in major cities throughout the country. As work place and neighborhood raids escalated, these congregations opened their doors to provide refuge to those facing deportation. See NSM toolkit here ( The New Sanctuary Movement helped win the Morton Memo and Prosecutorial Discretion in 2011 and President Obama s Executive Actions on Immigration in 2014, which has helped stop thousands of 3 deportations through case-by-case advocacy. Those entering sanctuary are generally eligible for Prosecutorial Discretion, but local ICE field offices have been very reluctant to offer this relief from deportations in which the community has had to engage in public advocacy to win stays of removal or an order of supervision and in most cases. With a Trump Administration we could potentially lose these victories, so we must work together to advocate and fight to keep prosecutorial discretion guidelines where community members can still win a stay of removal and be able to keep united with their families while having the opportunity to get a work permit and drivers license. Executive Actions on Immigration After countless actions, vigils, prayer services and even civil disobedience as a prophetic witness the Obama Administration set forth the Executive Actions on Immigration on November 20 th, 2014 that would benefit 5 million undocumented people. This was a huge victory for the immigrants rights movement. As expected, our opponents hit back hard attacking the President s announcement, attempting to move legislation against Executive Action (which failed to pass) and 26 Republican Governors filed a lawsuit in Texas. The judges ruled according to partisan lines and enjoined the Executive Actions that would expand Deferred Action. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court, but there were only 8 justices and so the decision on DAPA was tied 4-4 meaning it went back to the lower court decision and DAPA was never put into affect. New guidelines for Prosecutorial Discretion Expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA+) Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) The Trump Administration has promised to rescind Executive Actions of President Obama, and so these Prosecutorial Discretion guidelines are expected to change. Central American and Haitian Humanitarian Crisis In the summer of 2014, an influx of unaccompanied children and families fleeing gang violence in Central America s Northern Triangle began presenting themselves at the U.S.- Mexico border seeking asylum. Many of these children and families who have lost their asylum cases because they were unable to find legal counsel or due to rocket dockets that are meant to expedite trials but in reality deny due process. These children and families should have the opportunity to appeal their case with adequate representation. The overall deportation numbers of fiscal year 2015 was 235, 413 significantly lower than the 2012 all time high of 409, 849 as a result from Executive Action. However, the Obama administration seems to have made the political calculation they need to get their quotas up and have chosen to target Central American asylum-seeking families for deportation. Haitians have begun presenting themselves at the border for asylum at new levels. Advocates have called to provide Temporary Protective Status for Haitians because of the 2010 earthquake and 2016 Hurricane Matthew, but the Obama administration has responded with expedited removal proceedings instead, giving little time for Haitians to present their asylum case. 4 The Trump Administration may try to ignore the asylum seekers all together and deport them immediately. We will have to stand up and protect our asylum laws and ensure that asylum seekers actually get their case heard with legal assistance and enough time to prepare the case. The Sanctuary network will be extremely important in supporting Central Americans and Haitian asylum seekers. Sanctuary Goals and Strategy As the faith community, we are called to accompany our community members, congregants and neighbors facing deportation. By offering sanctuary we can fight individual cases, advocate to stop deportations, and make it possible to win deferred action at a case-by-case level to keep families together. Amplify the moral imperative to stop deportations by lifting up the stories of sanctuary cases and ensuring the prophetic witness of the immigrant taking sanctuary is heard at the national level. Defend administrative policies such as Prosecutorial Discretion so that we can still win stays of deportation case by case and keep sacred spaces and schools protected under the Sensitive Locations guidelines Work alongside undocumented students to defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program (DACA) Support local work to defend Sanctuary cities or local detainer policies and push back against unjust enforcement policies such as the Priority Enforcement Program or 287 g in the jails Participate and help create protection networks to provide know your rights education, sanctuary space, legal assistance, housing assistance, family planning and bail support funds Stop the Trump border wall and any attempt to increase criminalization or mandatory sentencing for immigrants Defend asylum seekers by pushing back against expedited removal and helping provide critical resources such as legal assistance so they can defend and win their case. Expanding Sanctuary Beyond the Congregations Congregations, schools, and hospitals are considered sensitive locations under the ICE Sensitive Locations policy, but this policy could be revoked. Students are beginning to organize on college campuses to call on university administrations to create safe spaces on campuses and not collaborate with ICE. Campus organizers will be working to protect undocumented students by organizing to keep the DACA program intact. Sanctuary cities have come out declaring they will continue to be Sanctuary cities in midst of a Trump Administration. We must protect and expand Sanctuary spaces. 5 Sanctuary in the Streets As a result of announcement of increased raids by the Obama Administration last year, many have organized rapid response networks. New Sanctuary Movement Philadelphia created the Sanctuary in the Streets to bring faith communities to protect people in their homes, should ICE arrive. Know Your Rights It is imperative to educate all immigrant communities on know-your-rights resources. The most important information is DON T OPEN THE DOOR to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), police or anyone else if they do not have a warrant signed by a judge. AFSC- Know Your Rights- Conozca Sus Derechos United We DREAM Know Your Rights Guide to sharing your story of rights abuses, raids and deportation Video: Report When A Raid Is Happening: HOTLINE: TEXT ALERTS WATCH ICE: Find Partner Organizations National Day Labor Organizing Network United We DREAM Fair Immigration Reform Movement Not1more Deportation Talking Points/ Messaging General Talking Points: As the faith community, we are doing what Congress has refused to do: protect immigrant families from an immigration system that is separating families and deporting people who are woven into the fabric of their communities and congregations. The immigrant community is very concerned about the prospects of a Trump Administration, but they are also ready to fight against unjust immigration policies expected to come. The role of the faith community is to walk in solidarity and accompany immigrant leaders in this struggle for civil and human rights. We are preparing to build out our movement for Sanctuary and for those of us who are ready to resist, we will put our bodies between ICE and our undocumented community members. The intention to focus on immigrants with criminal convictions is designed to criminalize the entire immigrant community. Undocumented immigrants might have an immigration related conviction or they may have been targeted by a policing system that is racially biased focused on low-income people of color. We are the faith community, we believe in transformation and forgiveness, even if someone has made a mistake in the past doesn t mean they should be deported and separated from their family. 6 We know that Sanctuary Cities or limited detainer policies actually create a safer community for all people, so that law enforcement can try and build trust with the immigrant community and victims or witnesses aren t scared to come forward. We are seeing a widespread and growing commitment by faith communities to provide sanctuary to our community members who will need sanctuary because of the expected harsh policies expected in the next administration. Our congregations open their doors to provide sanctuary we stand in solidarity with immigrant leaders fighting to keep all families together, regardless of immigration status. Neither the Obama administration nor the Trump Administration should target Central Americans or Haitian families seeking asylum, but should instead utilize their resources towards to provide legal representation to those who have been unable to attain assistance. Detention and deportation has become a money making business that is feeding the prison industrial complex and lining the pockets of private corporations with billions of dollars. We are have worked hard to hold the Obama administration, ICE and DHS accountable to their and we will continue to fight, and make sure the Trump Administration listens to the voice and stories of immigrant leaders who deserve justice, not deportation. We are praying for the future administration will take a position of discernment, compassion and morality with the understanding to protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival that has benefited nearly a million undocumented youth. Talking Points for Specific Sanctuary Cases: As people of faith, we are called to welcome the sojourner and love our neighbor. In the case of INSERT NAME, he/she has been part of our community for a long time. He/she is not a stranger but our neighbor and we are accompanying him as he stands up for his right to stay united with his family INSERT NAMES want to make sure their family stays together and that INSERT NAME does not become one of the hundreds of people unnecessarily deported each day under the current administration's policies. One of our key belief statements as the DENOMINATION is: INSERT STATEMENT. As in the tradition of the prophets and apostles, God calls the church to speak truth to power, liberate the oppressed, care for the poor and comfort the afflicted. We are responsible to a higher calling, a higher law that takes precedent over our flawed and outdated immigration laws. The church has been a space of sanctuary for those wrongly persecuted for thousands of years. The ability to provide humanitarian sanctuary defines who we are and our call as people of faith to care for the most vulnerable among us. 7 We witnessed the power of the Sanctuary Movement was in the 1980s. The church was able to protect Central Americans from being deported and returned to death squads in the Civil Wars they faced at home, which the United States refused to recognize. Thousands upon thousands of lives were spared because of the Sanctuary movement. Now in the midst of a new Administration that has promised extreme measure persecuting immigrants, faith communities once again must demonstrate leadership and action to keep families together, to keep parents with their children, to protect our brothers and sisters like INSERT NAME, from this grave injustice. Who are those seeking Sanctuary? Most Sanctuary cases begin with a lawyer or legal service clinic identify someone who has been working to stop their deportation order without success. The legal service team assesses whether someone will be eligible for prosecutorial discretion. Those who enter into Sanctuary should have a reasonable potential of receiving a stay of removal, order of supervision or some other form of administrative relief. The legal service team then consults with Sanctuary organizers and involved pastor to begin a conversation about a potential Sanctuary case. Ideally this happens months in advance, but sometimes the individual comes to a legal clinic or local organizers in the 11th hour, requiring a congregation to act quickly. Each case is different, sometimes often there is a family linked that would be separated, but not always. How do we Declare Sanctuary? The public aspect of the Declaration of Sanctuary is critical. It is by bringing attention to the case, mobilizing the community, and advocating for the individual that we are able to successfully get cases closed. We encourage every community of faith to enter into a time of prayer and discernment so that when cases arise, they are ready to act. Once a congregation has made the decision to declare Sanctuary for an individual it is publicly announced at a press conference and prayer vigil, at which time the individual and their family enters into the premises of the house of worship. Th
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