Sanctuary & Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Sanctuary as a place of safety has its roots in our Judeo-Christian tradition. Leviticus tells us aliens are citizens among us. Mary and Joseph, with the Baby Jesus, sought Sanctuary in Egypt. During World War II, Franciscan and Muslim communities helped Jewish people fleeing Germany to safety.
In the 80's, churches in the U.S. opened their doors to Central Americans fleeing violence in their home countries. This was the birth of the faith-based Sanctuary movement. In 2009, immigrants, predominately from Mexico and Central America were being swept up in immigration raids resulting in broken families and broken communities. The New Sanctuary Movement was launched in several cities across the U.S. The NSM was not limited to housing immigrants in danger of immediate deportation, but became a ministry of accompaniment and advocacy. Witness in immigration court proceedings often resulted in immigrants being released back to their families while their cases continued. The Episcopal Church was supportive and involved in the movement in several congregations.
Since 2009, no significant progress has been made towards comprehensive immigration reform. Information is confusing and unclear as states have passed policy dealing with what really is a federal issue. The press often paints a negative image of immigrants creating mistrust among and between communities.
It is time to recommit. Our churches are trusted places and can serve as meeting grounds for reflection, conversation, relationship building, as we give out accurate information and provide services.
For further information on how to become involved, please contact Dianne Aid at


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