Over the course of many decades the U.S. economy has unofficially welcomed and depended upon millions of immigrants to assist in its prosperous growth. Concurrently, there have been woefully inadequate paths to legal documentation or citizenship for these persons. A brief summary of the present situation assessed by The Pew Research Center finds 8 million undocumented workers girding up large portions of the US infrastructure (notably, 25% of our agricultural industry, 15% of the construction trades). Two thirds of these workers have lived in the US for more than 10 years. They teach our children, roof our houses, and dig the ditches for our high speed internet cables. Few industries are untouched by immigrant workers. Additionally, they have established families and become integral to the communities we share. They are our neighbors, co-workers, spouses, and friends. They are productive, and hard working. They pay taxes.
In our current political climate, a troubling surge of hate speech, hate crimes and racism has been unleashed against people who came here due to war, terror, political persecution, extreme poverty, and other expressions of violence. US immigrant communities are living in fear caused by the termination of life-saving policies such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS). They are also endangered due to racial profiling, raids and arbitrary deportations. These extreme actions separate families and are instilling acute fear and anxiety throughout our communities.
As people of conscience, we stand against these unjust policies that needlessly harm and cruelly separate families, neighbors and friends. We believe that our calling is to welcome immigrants, offering them hospitality and justice. We stand in solidarity with hundreds of thousands of people who are living in our state peaceably and productively and are now threatened by these inhumane actions.
We believe that this moment of crisis provides an opportunity for local governments, schools, health centers, and faith communities to dedicate themselves to building a “beloved community” that assures justice for all. We, the undersigned congregations, organizations and individuals, pledge to work as the North Carolina Sanctuary Coalition. As such we pledge our time, energy, and resources to support immigrants in our communities by offering physical sanctuary, emotional support, and persistent advocacy until we achieve comprehensive immigration reform and justice for all.
Sign On Now
Juana Tobar Ortega fled from Guatemala in 1992 after receiving threats from armed combatants to seek asylum in the U.S. She is a mother of four who reported to ICE for required check-ins until she was ordered to leave the country. She went into sanctuary at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Greensboro in May 2017. Keep Juana with family and sign her petition.
José Chicas, fleeing El Salvador during its civil war, came to the U.S. to seek asylum in the 1980s. He struggled with alcoholism in the 90s until was called on to become a pastor and reconciled with his wife. He has served his community for over two decades now. José went into sanctuary at the School for Conversion in June 2017. Help Pastor José stay with his family, his community, and his congregation. Sign his petition here.
Eliseo Jimenez went into sanctuary in October 2017 at Umstead Park United Church of Christ in Raleigh. He fled from Mexico at age 17 and has lived here and started a family. He has four U.S.-citizen children. After he was deported in 2007, he risked returning so that he could support his family. Help Eliseo stay in the U.S. to remain with his family and sign his petition.
Samuel Oliver Bruno, a father and husband from Mexico, sought a better life in the U.S. Samuel and his family returned to Mexico to care for his ailing father although his wife’s health was compromised. She became dangerously ill and could not receive the adequate healthcare she needed. The decision to come back to the U.S. was necessary as his wife received open heart surgery three days after her return. Samuel entered Sanctuary in December 2017 at City Well church in Durham. Keep Samuel with his family and sign his petition.
Oscar Canales came to the U.S. in 2005 from El Salvador to seek a better life. He is a loving and hardworking husband and father of three. He started his own roofing company in 2012 and employed several U.S. citizens. He has paid business taxes and repaired dozens of home in North Carolina. Oscar went into sanctuary at Congregational UCC in Greensboro in January, 2018. Help keep Oscar in the states with his family and business by signing his petition.
Rosa Ortez Cruz, mother of four children, fled Honduras from extreme domestic violence and came to the U.S. in 2002 in fear of her life. She cannot return to Honduras because her abuser has threatened her life. She entered sanctuary in April 2018 at Church of Reconciliation (Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship). Sign her petition here.
Volunteer Opportunities in North Carolina
Church of Reconciliation (Mennonite Fellowship)
School For Conversion
Saint Barnabas Episcopal Church
Umstead Park United Church of Christ
A growing movement of immigrant and faith communities have committed to doing what Congress and the Administration refuse to do: protect and stand with immigrants facing deportation. However, many congregations have questions. Who is seeking sanctuary? Who leads sanctuary? How do faith communities declare sanctuary? To answer these questions we have put together a list of links to help congregations who are considering becoming sanctuary congregations or know someone in need of sanctuary from deportation.
Sanctuary 101: How churches and synagogues are stopping deportations
Videos from the “Sanctuary Matters” conference sponsored by the NC Council of Churches
Council of Churches Sanctuary E-Course
Toolkits for Congregations Considering Sanctuary
Sanctuary Not Deportation: A Faithful Witness to Building Welcoming Communities
New Sanctuary Movement Toolkit
En Español: Manual de Movimiento Santuario
Conference Call: How to Offer Sanctuary (AFSC)
Sanctuary Toolkit (Unitarian Universalist)
Sanctuary: A Discernment Guide for Congregations (PCUSA)
2011 ICE Morton Memo about ICE actions in “sensitive locations” (schools, churches, hospitals)
New Sanctuary Legal Toolkit (Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law)
Sanctuary Congregations FAQs (ACLU)
Sanctuary Church for Immigrants (Insurance Board)
What to do if ICE comes to your faith community (IMIrJ)
Religious Organizations, Refuge for Undocumented Immigrants, and Tax Exemption
Legal Considerations for Faith Communities (UCC webinar)
Toolkit on Organizing for Just Immigration Policies at the Local and State Level
Sanctuary Movement in the Trump Era New Strategy and Tactics in the Post-Election Reality
Rapid Response Toolkit for Faith Allies
Roles of Sanctuary Supporting Churches
Solidarity and Sanctuary: A Survey of Options
Practicing Sanctuary: A GUIDE TO RADICAL WELCOME & COLLECTIVE CARE
Community Defense Starter Guide (Mijente)
Congregational Action Guide
Expanded Sanctuary/Protect and Defend Resources (UUA)
Links for Discernment:
Recorded Webinar on Faithful Discernment: Is Your Congregation Called to Offer Sanctuary?
Congregational Asset Mapping
Reasons for Supporting Sanctuary
Resources for those in Need of Sanctuary
Know Your Rights (NILC)
Know Your Rights (El Pueblo)
Know Your Rights (AFSC)
Picked Up: A Guide for Immigrants Detained in North Carolina (NC Justice Center)
Emergency Planning Guide (NC Justice Center)
AILA Find a Lawyer
IAN National Immigration Legal Services Directory
Immigration Referral List (NC)
Support those who are in Sanctuary in North Carolina
Please visit www.afsc.org/NCsanctuary to learn more about the courageous sanctuary leaders who are at the forefront of this movement—and join us in rejecting unjust and inhumane policies and practices. Sign their petitions to help protect Juana, Jose, Samuel, Eliseo, Oscar and others from deportation. And join us in calling for humane policies that welcome and respect the dignity of all people.