A new sanctuary movement

During the 1980s, when civil wars in El Salvador and elsewhere spurred many to flee violence by migrating to the US, the US government granted asylum to few.   Granting asylum would have been an acknowledgment that the right-wing governments that the US was propping up with military aid were gross abusers of human rights.   In reponse, a sanctuary movement grew up in US churches and solidarity groups to shelter migrants from being shipped back to their war torn countries:
With the front door to the United States effectively shut, Central Americans turned to a back entrance. This was the sanctuary movement. In the 1980s, it came to be embraced by hundreds of churches and synagogues, as well as by some college campuses and cities, in more than 30 states. Refugees denied political asylum were spirited across the southern border and sheltered in houses of worship like Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Ariz. 
“These were middle-class folks who were fleeing for their lives,” the Rev. John M. Fife, Southside’s pastor in the 1980s, said of one group of asylum seekers. 
When it came to smuggling and hiding people, he said, “I assumed it was illegal, but I could not claim to be a Christian and not be involved in trying to protect refugees’ lives.”
An estimated 2,000 refuge seekers were aided in that latter-day version of the Underground Railroad. Unavoidably, the clergy made itself a foe of the government, which argued that no one was above the law and that the sanctuary movement was, at heart, inspired more by politics than by theological imperatives. Movement members were put on trial. In one celebrated 1980s case, eight of them, including Fife, were convicted of felony conspiracy and other charges. None ended up going to jail, however. 
“Sometimes,” Fife said at the time, “you cannot love both God and the civil authority. Sometimes you have to make a choice.” 
The issue today for people who share his beliefs is not so much how to bring unauthorized immigrants into the United States as it is how to keep millions already here from being tossed out.
Clyde Haberman in New York Times, March 5, 2017, Sanctuary movement parallels one that defied Reagan.

The new call for a sanctuary movement in Trump's USA has taken two forms.    One form is the sanctuary city -- a jurisdiction which proclaims that its law enforcement authorities will not provide affirmative assistance to the Department of Homeland Security to enforce immigration laws.    Trump's executive order threatening such jurisdictions with a loss of federal funding is currently blocked by federal court order.   This is not so much protection for migrants as a declaration that the city will not participate in aiding Trump's mass deportation plans.

The second form of a sanctuary movement today is the call for churches to reopen their doors to migrants facing deportation and whose removal might imperil migrants' lives or where deportation will break up loving families.

A human rights advocate from El Salvador added her voice to that call this week:
I´m a Human Right defender. I’m from El Salvador and presently in my country we´re living through a safety crisis where gangs, criminality and corruption are the main troubles. The same thing is happening throughout this region called the “Northern Triangle” that include Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador in Central America.  The extremely high levels of violence have forced more and more people each day to flee towards the North to save their lives. Our governments refuse to recognize that there is forced displacement situation and don't want to recognize that violence has changed migration. 
We know that migration has existed for decades, but presently thousands of people from the Northern Triangle are seeking refuge status or asylum.  They already have histories of danger and lives that are at risk.  Their reason for coming to the US is not an economic one, but because their lives are in danger and they are seeking protection.  For this reason you are seeing an increase in petitions for asylum or refugee status. 
I´m calling for good Christian people to open the doors of their churches as sanctuaries to migrants and refugees with a goal of protection, defense and refuge.  We need your solidarity.   We need spaces of sanctuary.    Now is when we most need to join forces to accompany families so they are not deported or persecuted.  So that sanctuaries can be a place where families are sheltered, and cease living with fear of deportation and above all to promote family integration. 
Watch a video of these remarks here.

 And so a new sanctuary movement is starting in Seattle and many other cities:
Michael Ramos is executive director of the Church Council of Greater Seattle that’s leading the effort there. He says unlike the 80s, when the churches were helping refugees fleeing Central America, many of the people who need help today already live here and have real fears of deportation.
 “This is a new time for faith communities to step forward intentionally and consciously to say we need to exercise our mission of welcoming these people, including opening up our sacred spaces,” Ramos said.
Three churches in the Seattle area this week publicly declared their commitment to acting as sanctuary for immigrants:  Gethsemane Lutheran, St. Matthew/San Mateo, and Saint Mark’s Cathedral.   A statement from the Church Counil of Greater Seattle declared:
For people subject to the dehumanization of detention and deportation and the dreadful separation of families, parents from children, we are charged to embody solidarity through sanctuary and to live out the call of the faith community: alleviate suffering, remove fear and humanize situations of injustice. As an expression of religious freedom, this response is an act of compassion and active accompaniment of hosting individuals and families who seek relief and refuge and are partners in seeking justice. In so doing we are called not just to provide sanctuary but to be sanctuary. We are one community, together, in this liberation movement. 
Sanctuary, for our faith communities, is the declaration that, in embracing people who are vulnerable to deportation, hope remains alive as it is embodied in action. Sanctuary is a moral expression of faith, a reflection of conscience, a communal welcoming of the immigrant neighbor at our door. In so doing, we honor a higher law.