Many churches statewide to become sanctuaries for immigrants facing deportation

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Places of worship statewide have become a sanctuary network for immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

Two churches in Kalamazoo were among the many who announced Tuesday they will help house and protect families from being separated. Clergy statewide are responding to looming threats of immigration crackdown and heightened deportation under President Trump's administration.

"As people of faith and followers of Jesus Christ, many of us are concerned about preserving the integrity of the families in our community and there’s a great deal of fear about what is going to happen in the coming months," said Rev. Nathan Dannison with First Congregational Church in Kalamazoo.

"Our primary concern is preventing children from being separated from their parents and being placed in the custody of the state.”

Leaders with the First Congregational Church and Vanguard Edison Church spoke Tuesday as they work with Michigan United and community members to address the fear they say they are seeing just in southwest Michigan.

The Michigan spokesperson with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Khaalid Walls, told FOX 17 Tuesday they do not have a comment on any specific actions churches statewide are taking, but made this statement on behalf of ICE officials:

"The ICE sensitive locations (schools, places of worship, medical facilities) policy, which remains in effect, provides that enforcement actions at sensitive locations should generally be avoided, and requires either prior approval from an appropriate supervisory official or exigent circumstances necessitating immediate action.  DHS is committed to ensuring that people seeking to participate in activities or utilize services provided at any sensitive location are free to do so without fear or hesitation."

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  • Old Bob

    Let me see if I understand this.
    Now we have a few churches that not only think the illegal immigrants are about the law they also think they are above the law.

    If you came here illegally. GO HOME

  • steve

    The churches that are providing a “safe haven” for illegals are violating the law, period. The separation of church and state doesn’t supersede criminal laws. To me, a relatively simple solution would be something like this: Any illegal, with or without natural born children, have a six month period in which to begin the process of becoming a citizen or have documentation that makes it legal for them to be here. After the six month period, they’re liable to be deported regardless of where they happen to be. Those that want to become citizens have an opportunity to get started, have student or work documentation, fine. For those who don’t and are planning on largely living off the largesse of the government, get out and take any minor children with you.

  • Scramopolis

    Its a simple choice really. Does your church believe in Jesus or the Republican Party?
    Matthew 25:35-36

    “For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you visited Me.’…