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'Gift of Sanctuary': US Churches to House Immigrants Facing Deportation
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December 27, 2015

At least 10 immigrants have taken refuge in churches in the past year to avoid imminent deportation. (Reuters/Mark Makela)

A US religious campaign supporting Central American refugees, the Sanctuary Movement, said it would offer its congregations' churches to families facing deportation from the United States, ahead of a planned government crackdown on illegal immigrants.

Leaders of the multi-denominational church-based movement said the immigrants who suffer in an upcoming series of raids, could find refuge in the group's places of worship. Nationwide operations by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement will begin as soon as January, forcing whole families from the country, the Washington Post reported.

...Congregations supporting the sanctuary network include about 300 parishes in more than 20 states, according to a coordinator for the affiliated Church World Service, the Rev. Noel Anderson.

Nationwide raids by the Homeland Security Department, aimed at deporting adults and children, who have already been ordered removed from the US by an immigration judge, were reported earlier this week. The campaign will affect many immigrants - primarily from El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua - who crossed the US border through Mexico while fleeing violence in Central America.

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Related: El Salvador Responds to US Plan to Deport Hundreds by January (teleSUR)

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