More Churches Sheltering Illegal Immigrants from Authorities

More Churches Sheltering Illegal Immigrants from Authorities

On September 10, Breitbart reported that several churches in Arizona drew national attention for sheltering illegal immigrants from authorities, but now up to 24 churches across the country have joined the first few Arizona churches in this movement.

Earlier this month, Rev. Alison J. Harrington, the pastor of the Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona, said that she and her congregation “felt compelled by our faith to welcome [illegal immigrants] into our church and shelter them and to begin a campaign to get their orders of deportation removed.”

Now, according to the Arizona Republic, 24 churches are saying they are prepared to offer sanctuary to undocumented immigrants. Another 52 churches have announced their support of the idea.

This “sanctuary movement” isn’t new to Tucson’s Southside Presbyterian Church, a church that was the first to shield illegals from authorities in the 1980s.

But since the Southside Presbyterian Church opened its doors to an illegal alien several moths ago, the Republic reports that “immigrants have found sanctuary at four other churches in Portland, Tempe, Phoenix and Chicago.”

U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) praised the growing movement. “It speaks to faith and it speaks to the humanity of this issue, which is forgotten in the political discourse that happens around this issue of immigration where people become numbers,” Grijalva told the paper.

The churches say that President Obama has sanctioned the efforts with a legal loophole. In 2011 the administration issued a memo through Immigration and Customs Enforcement instructing immigration officers to avoid entering “sensitive locations” such as churches and schools to retrieve lawbreakers.

These churches say this memo and their faith is all they need to shield illegal aliens from deportation.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at


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