Saturday, May 19, 2007

The new sanctuary movement

The fight against deportations The new sanctuary movement by Lee Sustar; May 18, 2007

A NEW faith-based movement to “awaken the moral imagination of the country” hopes to provide sanctuary for undocumented immigrants whose deportation would break up families. Calling themselves the New Sanctuary Movement (NSM)--a nod to the 1980s effort to assist refugees from Central America fleeing the carnage of U.S.-sponsored wars--churches and religious activist groups held press conferences around the U.S. May 9 to announce plans “to protect immigrant workers and families from unjust deportation” by giving shelter and material aid to the undocumented.

The initiative comes in the wake of efforts by immigrant rights activists to pressure local governments for sanctuary city policies of non-cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. On May 8, Watsonville, Calif., became the latest city to declare itself an immigrant sanctuary. In other cities like Chicago, San Francisco and Oakland, activists have pressed city officials to reaffirm existing policies of refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials.

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