Sanctuary Movement

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 pledge to resist any 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 people.

Sanctuary2017
41,774
of 45,000 signatures
across 15 local campaigns
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Campaigns (15)

  • Tell ICE: Let Pastor José Be! #SanctuaryNow
    The School for Conversion (SFC), a Durham-based religious education center committed to “making surprising friendships possible,” has joined together with the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, and a coalition of religious and community-based partners to make a public announcement of why we have offered sanctuary to Pastor José Chicas. Chicas fled his native El Salvador during its civil war in the 1980’s, seeking asylum in the United States. In the 1990s, before Chicas and his wife experienced a spiritual conversion, he struggled with alcoholism. During that time, he was charged with and pled guilty to driving under the influence and domestic abuse. But 20 years ago, Chicas reconciled with his wife, received a call to preach, and has served his family and community in North Carolina for two decades. Under the new aggressive immigration enforcement policies of the Trump administration, Chicas has been targeted as a “criminal” by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which ordered him to leave his family and congregation last Tuesday without any hope of ever returning. “My congregation is calling, asking me, “‘When can you come back? We miss you,’” said Jose Chicas, who pastors Iglesia Evangelica in Raleigh, NC. “I met Pastor Jose through his son, Ezekiel, who shared about how his father was to be deported the day before he was scheduled to graduate from a Wake County Elementary school,” said Rev. Barber. “The Jesus I follow had to immigrate to Egypt when he was a child, where neither he nor his parents had papers. When he grew up, that same Jesus said to his followers, ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me.’ As a disciple of that brown-skinned Palestinian Jew, I don’t have any option but to embrace Jose and his family.” Please join Rev. Barber, myself and other community partners in asking that ICE grant Pastor José relief by signing and sharing this petition.
    1,778 of 2,000 Signatures
    Created by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
  • Stand Up and Be Counted! 1000 Congregations Strong For Sanctuary
    If there ever was a time to stand up in support of sanctuary, it is now. Each congregation that stands up could be the difference that decides someone’s future. The more of us that stand up, the more likely we’ll be able to get the government to think twice before tearing our families apart. The Sanctuary Movement provides a moral and prophetic platform for immigrant leaders to tell their stories and change the hearts of minds of the broader public. Anti-immigrant hate has no response to the power of faith and moral communities standing together with immigrants. In the sanctuary movement, your denomination or spiritual background doesn't matter as long as you're committed to standing with immigrant leaders. The movement is multi-faith and open to all people of faith and moral courage who feel the call to act on their convictions. There are so many congregations already involved that have yet to be officially counted. To get there and to show the power of the Sanctuary Movement, we want to get beyond 1000 congregations. Sign here to say your congregation supports sanctuary and encourage other congregations you know to do the same. What is a Sanctuary Congregation? A Sanctuary Congregation is one that chooses to take prophetic action and protect people through various actions that range from housing immigrants in immediate danger of deportation to providing legal assistance, accompaniment to court, organizing alongside us, and much more. If you’re already doing some of this work, then you are a Sanctuary Congregation! Sanctuary is also expanding to be in solidarity with all vulnerable populations in the Trump era at every level—including people of color, LGBTQ communities, Muslims and anyone who is facing discrimination from the current political crisis. Now is not the time to hesitate. Sign here to stand up and be counted for Sanctuary.
    272 of 300 Signatures
    Created by Jeanette Vizguerra Picture
  • David is an important member of our community. We must stop his deportation.
    David is one of millions of hard-working people whose lives are being ripped apart by a cruel and widening dragnet that has been criminalizing, detaining and deporting people. David came to the United States in the mid 1980s and obtained a work permit. David has worked as a landscaper for many years. Since 2013, he has checked in regularly with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), never missing an appointment, and was allowed to stay and keep his work permit. Thanks to his hard work, David and his wife Leticia watched their four children become thriving adults. All four of his children have benefited from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program that has provided relief from deportation and, granted work permits. He and Leticia have been married for 32 years and are parishioners of Little Flower Catholic Church in Reno. In the Trump era David’s traffic citation meant that ICE revoked his work permit and targeted him for deportation. David's last check-in with ICE was scheduled on April 5th, David, his family and legal counsel feared that officials would take him into custody and prepare him for deportation. David’s deportation could bring fatal consequences. David’s only contacts in Mexico are in his home state of Aguascalientes, a state where violence is pervasive—especially against U.S. returnees who are assumed to have wealth. One of David's friends was brutally attacked, tortured, and killed after returning from the United States. The implications for David’s medical care could be dire. His children have grown up in the U.S. and have almost no knowledge of Mexico—his youngest was only 1 when he arrived. Deportation could also be a death sentence. David and three of his children suffer from Marfan Syndrome, a genetic disorder that weakens the heart. The treatments they receive in the U.S. are inaccessible in many parts of Mexico, particularly for those who do not have financial ability to pay for medical care. David's many friends in Reno, as well as his supporters in Reno's interfaith community, are campaigning to protect him from unconscionable and unwarranted persecution. David decided to take Sanctuary at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada. He will remain in Sanctuary until he has assurances from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that by appearing at their office he will not be deported and separated from all he knows. For all these reasons, we are asking the Gen. John Kelly, Secretary of DHS, Thomas D. Homan, Director of ICE, and the ICE Salt Lake City Field Office to grant David a stay of removal from deportation, to keep David with his family, allow him to work and ensure he doesn’t meet potential fatal consequences upon deportation.
    48 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Rev. Neal Anderson
  • We Pledge To Resist Deportation And Discrimination Through Sanctuary
    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. By signing this pledge, 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.
    6,984 of 7,000 Signatures
    Created by Rev. Alison Harrington Picture
  • Tell Chicago ICE: Don't deport Jose Juan, father of 5
    My church took emergency moral action when Jose Juan was placed in deportation proceedings and ordered to leave the country and his family by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Chicago Field Office. "Abandoning my children is not a choice I can make. I live for them, and I will fight to stay with them,” says Jose Juan. As people of faith, we opened our doors to Jose Juan and offered him a sanctuary so that he can continue to fight to stay with his family. On behalf of University Church, my congregation, and signers of this petition, I urge you to reconsider Mr. Moreno’s request for use discretion, and allow him to stay with his family. I understand that Mr. Federico Moreno has a charge for an “aggravated” DUI, and that the aggravated charge is solely because as an undocumented immigrant he had no access to a driver’s license and that Illinois law unfairly punishes those without one. As people of faith, we also understand that we are more than our mistakes and that all of God’s children deserve second chances. Faith compels us to respond to injustice, to welcome the stranger, and to promote families staying together. My church first offered Sanctuary to immigrants fleeing violent war in Guatemala and El Salvador in 1985. Now, because of cruel US immigration enforcement practices, my church has once again opened its doors for Sanctuary. As a church, we have seen firsthand the loving and generous sacrifices Jose Juan makes for his family each day. As people of faith, we call on you to stop his deportation to allow this family to stay together.
    3,352 of 4,000 Signatures
    Created by Rev. Julian DeShazier Picture
  • Tell the Obama Administration: Stop the Deportation of Asylum Seekers Hilda Ramirez and her son Ivan
    Hilda Ramirez is an asylum seeker in danger of deportation to a country where her family will be subjected to violence, discrimination, and extreme poverty. A 28-year-old Mayan mother from San Marcos, Guatemala, Hilda fled to the United States with her 9-year-old son Ivan after facing threats of violence. Arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2014 hoping to find safety, she was instead detained at the border and jailed at the Karnes detention center with her son in inhumane conditions for 11 months. There, Hilda participated in a courageous hunger strike with another 77 immigrant moms to shut down family detention centers.1 Hilda was eventually released on bond and forced to wear an ankle bracelet. After several months of staying in an Austin shelter for immigrants, the danger of impending ICE raids became overwhelming, leading Hilda and Ivan to seek Sanctuary in St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas while she fights deportation orders for herself and her young son. Although she was previously unable to win her asylum case, she continues to appeal her case with the assistance of legal counsel. After the recent decision from the Obama administration to target Central American asylum seekers for immigration raids and deportation, many immigrant communities have been left in a state of fear. As a result, many families and individuals in danger of losing their lives and loved ones are looking for safe haven and support with legal services. Already, more than 120 people have been apprehended in the raids, 77 people immediately deported, including parents with U.S. citizen children.2 Another round of raids has been announced, but no one knows where or when they will happen. OUR VALUES Families like Hilda and her son should not be targeted by immoral and unjust ICE raids. They should be provided the safety they seek, not met with further violence and discrimination. With continued raids announced, it is more important than ever that we stand with Hilda, Ivan, and all our immigrant brothers and sisters living in danger of deportation and separation. On February 9th, 2016, Hilda and Ivan took the prophetic and courageous step to enter into Sanctuary at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas. Hilda explains that, "I feel safe here. I don't think immigration agents will break down the door and take me away. That is why I came here." Sanctuary is a place where God’s love and protection is a living reality. Our faith demands that we treat refugees as neighbors. Our faith demands that we open our doors, even when others are shutting theirs. As people of faith and people of moral courage, we cannot stand idle in midst of the inhumanity of raids, deportation and detention. We must be in solidarity with Hilda, Ivan and our immigrant neighbors who are facing similar situations where a deportation could have fatal consequences when returned to their countries of origin. All families are sacred and each individual deserves justice, dignity and hospitality, regardless of their immigration status. TAKE ACTION By signing this petition, you are taking action to stand in solidarity with Hilda and Ivan, and all people suffering because of the United States’ inhumane mass deportation system. Your support of immigrants and refugees as a person of faith or a person of moral courage can help us put pressure on the Obama administration to use their power to end unjust and inhumane raids and deportations. Watch the video of our press conference at St. Andrews Church: https://vimeo.com/154776260 [1] "Mothers held at Texas detention centre go on hunger strike to demand release," The Guardian. April 1, 2015. [2] "U.S. authorities begin raids, taking 121 illegal immigrants into custody over the weekend," The Washington Post. Jan. 4, 2016.
    3,758 of 4,000 Signatures
    Created by Rev. Jim Rigby
  • Tell The Obama Administration: Stop Misael From Being Deported
    Misael came to our church seeking sanctuary because he is facing deportation after being racially profiled and pulled over in Phoenix — he did not even receive a ticket for any traffic violation. Misael made the difficult journey to the U.S. from Guatemala 9 years ago to provide for his family. As the eldest child, he took on the responsibility to care for his parents and younger siblings, hoping to raise his family out of poverty and provide a path to higher education for his brothers and sisters in Guatemala. Misael's drive and strong work ethic landed him a stable job as a roofer for the past 6 years, where his hard work and sweet spirit have made him a valued employee. His dedication to service extends beyond his family to his community here in Phoenix, where Misael serves as the keyboard accompanist during church services. If Misael is deported back to Guatemala, it’s not just him who suffers injustice: Misael's parents and younger siblings lose the main provider for their household, his employer loses a valued worker, and his church and community will lose a beloved neighbor. Our church has offered Sanctuary as an emergency action inspired by our deepest faith values in the face of a broken and outdated immigration system. We will continue to provide Sanctuary to Misael while we ask the Obama administration to close or put a stay on his deportation order until he can obtain legal status. CAN WE HELP? Yes. Misael's consistent employment and commitment to his community make him eligible for “prosecutorial discretion” by ICE — they have the power to drop his deportation proceedings. But if current rumors of executive action hold true, Misael may not be eligible for deferred action when it comes. As President Obama gets closer to taking action, we need to push for compassionate reform that extends relief to all 11 million undocumented immigrants living in fear of separation by supporting those who may not qualify, like Misael. OUR VALUES Deportations that create the suffering of thousands of families are not a policy of God. God's work expands love, justice, peace, and joy in our lives and in our communities. That's why our congregation welcomed Misael into Sanctuary. As people of faith, we stand with Misael and act with compassion and justice. All other political, economic, legal arguments and rhetoric fail in the light of this human being and his need. TAKE ACTION Join us in asking Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and the Obama administration to close or put a stay on Misael’s deportation order and to take immediate action to declare a moratorium on deportations.
    575 of 600 Signatures
    Created by Ken Heintzelman
  • Tell The Obama Administration: Stop Angela From Being Deported
    Angela’s home is in Philadelphia, where she has raised her 2 children, Arturo, age 11, and Mariana, age 8. She is an active leader in her church and the immigrant rights movement. The US has been her home for 12 years, and now Angela and her family need our support to stay together. SANCTUARY On November 18, 2014, Angela took the prophetic and bold step to enter into Sanctuary at West Kensington Ministry Church, a member congregation of New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia. Angela explains that, “I have taken this decision for my own life, my family, and the entire immigrant community. I have lived in fear for over 10 years and I can’t continue living this way.” OUR VALUES We are called to stand in solidarity with Angela’s leadership. As people of faith, we cannot witness the inhumanity of deportation and stay silent. All families are sacred and each individual deserves justice, dignity, and hospitality, regardless of their immigration status. TAKE ACTION By signing this petition, you are taking action to stand in solidarity with Angela Navarro and all people suffering because of the US’ inhumane mass deportation system. Please sign and share Angela’s petition asking: 1) Department of Homeland Security Secretary Johnson to stop Angela’s deportation 2) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to stop Angela’s deportation 3) President Obama that he must immediately end all deportations and create humane immigration policies that reflect our faith values of justice, dignity, and hospitality for all. ------- SANTUARIO Angela, nacida en Honduras, ha vivido 12 años en los Estados Unidos. Su hogar es en Philadelphia, donde ha criado a sus niños, Arturo de 11 años de edad, y Mariana, de 8. Es una líder en su iglesia y en el Movimiento Nuevo Santuario. Es una empleada ejemplar, y su patrón apoya su liderazgo en el movimiento por los derechos de los inmigrantes. Angela es parte de nuestra comunidad: la amenaza de deportarla es una amenaza contra todos nosotros. Con sus palabras, “He tomado esta decisión por mi propia vida, por mi familia y por toda la comunidad inmigrante. He vivido con miedo por más de 10 años y no puedo seguir viviendo así.” El 18 de Noviembre de 2014, Angela ha dado un paso audaz y profético, entrando al Santuario en la Iglesia del Ministerio de West Kensington, una congregación miembro del Movimiento Nuevo Santuario de Philadelphia. NUESTROS VALORES Seamos solidarios con el liderazgo de Angela: como gente de fe, no podemos presenciar la inhumanidad de la deportación y permanecer en silencio. Todas las familias son sagradas, y todo individuo merece justicia, dignidad, y hospitalidad, cualquiera sea su situación migratoria. ACTUA HOY MISMO Al firmar esta petición estás demostrando su solidaridad con Angela Navarro y todos los que sufren por culpa del inhumano sistema de deportaciones en masa de los Estados Unidos. Por favor, firme y comparta la petición de Angela. Al firmar usted está pidiendo que: 1. El Secretario del Departmento de Seguridad Interna (Homeland Security) Jeh Johnson, pare la deportación de Angela: 2. Que ICE (Aplicación de Leyes de Inmigracion y Aduanas) ordene anular la deportación de Angela. 3. Que el Presidente Obama termine inmediatamente con todas las deportaciones y cree una politica humana de inmigración, que refleje nuestra fe y nuestros valores de justicia, dignidad y hospitalidad para todos.
    6,140 of 7,000 Signatures
    Created by Nicole Kligerman
  • OREGON LABOR AND IMMIGRANT RIGHTS LEADER FACES CHARGES FOR 15 YEAR OLD DEPORTATION
    In September 2014 immigration agents came to the house of labor leader and Oregon immigrant rights organizer Francisco Aguirre house looking to take him into custody to deport him. When he did not open the door and asked for a warrant, they left. For the next two months, Francisco took Sanctuary in a local Portland church, while his family, advocates, and faith leaders organized a campaign to stop his deportation. But a two months into the sanctuary fight, immigration decided to seek a felony charge for “re-entry” into the United States for Francisco, in collaboration with the U.S. Marshall’s office. ICE is pursuing Francisco despite his many contributions to Oregon, where he is raising 3 children and where he has lived for almost 20 years. Francisco has been a long-time organizer at VOZ Worker’s Rights and Education Project, where he works with low-income workers and helps them fight for fair labor rights. He has helped claim stolen wages for workers, has been involved in improving health and safety labor standards, and is a musician who signs for social justice-related causes. Francisco is also one of the pioneers of advocating for the rights of day laborers across the country working closely with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. Since his story became public, ICE has declared Francisco a “criminal alien” who is “considered a public safety threat and a priority for removal” in relation to two prior and isolated convictions. Twenty years ago Francisco pled ‘no contest’ to a drug-related charge, and was deported. The charge itself is questionable, and Francisco maintains his innocence. As he has explained, the only reason took a plea was due to encouragement by his public defender without knowing that ICE would take this as an admission of guilt and use it to deport him. Under today’s law, this would be considered misrepresentation and potentially grounds to re-open the case. Francisco came into ICE’s radar when last July Francisco was pulled over and charged with a DUI. Once in court, because there was no one harmed in the incident, and because this was his first driving offense, Francisco was given the chance to enroll in a Diversion program. Those who know Francisco well, know his dedication for social justice and his passion to advocate for the improvement of his community. Contrary to ICE’s claims, his community and his family do NOT believe that these convictions make that Francisco is a “public safety threat.” Please sign the petition to support Francisco and help stop his deportation.
    3,154 of 4,000 Signatures
    Created by WJ Mark Knutson
  • Close Arturo Hernández Garcia's Deportation Case
    Arturo Hernández, married for 18 years, has two daughters, a 17-year-old in the DACA process and an 11-year-old U.S. citizen. He and his family have lived in Colorado for 17 years. Arturo is a small business owner and started his company as a subcontractor in the construction industry in 2008. He provides employment for an average of 8 or 9 people annually. Since leaving Sanctuary he has organized and advocated for better policies and educated thousands of citizens on the realities of our immigration system. Arturo has worked hard for himself and his family and has helped to employ others. ICE detained Arturo on April 26th, 2017 at his workplace despite a letter from ICE indicating he would not be deported. It is urgent that we help to stop Arturo's deportation and take action TODAY! The Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition welcomed Arturo into sanctuary October 19th at First Unitarian Society of Denver. We continue to act on our commitment to welcome and accompany our immigrant neighbors into our community because we are called upon to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Arturo is our neighbor, and his threat of deportation is a threat to our entire community. We do not accept anyone's right to tear apart loving families in our community. We chose to bring Arturo into sanctuary two years ago because it was just, and believed the injustice of our immigration policy is an offense against our community and our faith. Because of the significant suffering his deportation would cause his daughters, his wife and the families of his employees, we ask that his deportation be stopped immediately and that he be granted a stay of removal so he can stay with his family. We urge you to Sign and Share this petition asking Director Lynch to grant Arturo a stay of removal. Such action would not only be in line with the teaching of our faith traditions, but true to the values of our communities and nation. Please read the letter to Jeffrey Lynch, Deputy Field Office Director of Denver ICE office below, sign your name, and press submit to add your name to Arturo’s petition requesting a stay of removal on his deportation! Help us keep up the momentum by sharing widely and asking your friends to do the same! Dear Mr. Lynch, I am writing to ask that you stop the deportation of Arturo Armando Hernandez Garcia A#087-952-389 and grant him a stay of removal so he can remain with his family. Arturo Hernández, married for 18 years, has two daughters, a 17-year-old in the DACA process and a 11-year-old U.S. citizen. He and his family have lived in Colorado for 17 years. Arturo is a small business owner and started his company as a subcontractor in the construction industry in 2008. He provides employment for an average of 8 or 9 people annually. In 2010, Arturo was arrested by the local police of the City of Lonetree, while working construction, where he was verbally assaulted and wrongly accused of threatening an American with a knife. He was arrested, and when he arrived at the jail, he was placed on an immigration "hold." He was detained by immigration without having been found guilty of the charges and having his day in court. He later proved his innocence in court, so in late 2010 they withdrew the criminal charges and he was acquitted. Although the courts found him innocent, deportation proceedings with ICE continued and on April 26th, 2017 he was detained at his workplace despite a letter from ICE indicating he would not be deported. Arturo has viable legal options to remain in the US, including an application his in-laws submitted in 2005 that is still pending. Because of the significant suffering of his daughters, wife and the families of his employees, we ask that his deportation be stopped immediately and that he be granted a stay of removal so he can stay with his family while he pursues those options.
    4,927 of 5,000 Signatures
    Created by Jennifer Piper
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