- UPDATE: September 6, 2019: “Facing deportation, a mother and son seek sanctuary at Olympia synagogue” Read more
- Editor’s note: This Labor Day, America’s religious communities are providing sanctuary to migrants/immigrants who live in fear of being deported or having their families split apart – on a holiday where we should be honoring their toils. So far, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has respected the sanctity of the sanctuaries of our country’s Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Quaker congregations.
- Read more about Sanctuary Cities, Counties, and States from the Center for Immigration Studies.
- Read more about Olympia’s and Thurston County’s welcoming policies.
- Read more about Washington becoming a Sanctuary State in Feb. 2017.
“Over 1,100 Congregations Have Agreed to Provide Sanctuary to Migrants”
“As the right wing’s anti-immigrant fervor gains steam, entire denominations and individual congregations — Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Quaker — have been mobilizing to support immigrants in a variety of ways, from protesting at the border and at local ICE offices, to visiting detention camps in witness to the atrocities unfolding there, to offering physical sanctuary and protection to those at risk of deportation. Religious activists have also signed countless petitions, written letters and visited lawmakers, attempted to get law enforcers to sever ties with ICE, and helped the newly arrived acclimate to U.S. life,” by Eleanor J. Bader, Truthout.
“Alabama churches, leaders have offered sanctuary for immigrants”
“As federal raids on immigrants living illegally in the country have become more common, nearly three dozen churches in Birmingham have offered sanctuary for those fearing deportation.
“Over 30 pastors and religious figure have signed a letter, offering their churches as refuge for immigrants who fear the raids could happen in the city. The letter says, ‘Though we represent diverse theological perspectives and traditions, our mutual commitment to the scared and ethical treatment of our neighbors transcends boundaries: we believe in loving our neighbors as ourselves, in doing no harm, and in seeking ht (sic) best for every member of our community. We believed that our ethical and theological commitments require us to take a stand against policies and language that dehumanize our immigrant siblings.’
“The letter goes on to say, ‘our houses of worship will be a sanctuary for those seeking refuge. We will not allow immigration authorities to enter into our houses of worship without a warrant signed by a judge,'” by Malique Rankin, WIAT-42 TV (CBS), Birmingham.
“ICE Arrest at Thurston County Courthouse Begs the Question: What Does Sanctuary Mean?”
“On June 20, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in civilian clothing arrested a man outside the Thurston County Superior Courthouse. The man is now being held at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.
“It’s the only ICE arrest that has occurred in or near the courthouse to County Manager Ramiro Chavez’s knowledge, and the only such instance reported to the Washington Defender Association or the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network since at least November 2017.”
“But the recent action raises concerns in a city [Olympia] that has declared itself a sanctuary city and a county [Thurston] that named itself welcoming, agreeing not to aid ICE in detaining immigrants. Was there a way for the county or city to step in? Officials say no. Not helping ICE in its work is different from obstructing ICE, they say,” by Sara Gentzier, The Olympian.