Churches Vow to Offer Sanctuary to Undocumented Immigrants | NBC 6 South Florida
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Churches Vow to Offer Sanctuary to Undocumented Immigrants

During the campaign, Trump pledged to "immediately terminate" President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    In this Dec. 6, 2016 photo, Pastor Abraham Waya poses inside the Central United Methodist Church in Brockton, Mass., after announcing the church will become an immigrant sanctuary. Hundreds of houses of worship representing an array of faiths around the country are offering to provide sanctuary for people who could face deportation if President-elect Donald Trump follows through on his campaign pledge.

    Hundreds of houses of worship are offering sanctuary to people who could face deportation if President-elect Donald Trump follows through on his campaign pledge to remove millions of immigrants living in the country illegally.

    To some churches, sanctuary means spiritual support or legal assistance to fight deportation. Others promise or already are extending physical sanctuary by housing immigrants.

    In Brockton, a poor city of about 95,000 people south of Boston, four churches have pledged to take in immigrants fearful of being deported.

    "If you need a safe place, once you enter the doors of this building, you are safe," said the Rev. Abraham Waya, pastor of Central United Methodist Church, who said his church can shelter as many as 100 people. "We will host you and take care of you for as long as it takes."

    London Investigates Terrorist Incident

    [NATL] London Investigates Terrorist Incident

    Police in London responded to what officials are calling a terrorist incident outside Parliament on March 22.

    (Published Wednesday, March 22, 2017)

    During the campaign, Trump pledged to "immediately terminate" President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration, including the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which has extended work permits and temporary deportation relief to more than 700,000 immigrants brought here illegally as youths.

    In an interview with Time magazine published this week, Trump adopted a more sympathetic tone toward young immigrants, saying, "We're going to work something out that's going to make people happy and proud."

    A spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the agency follows a 2011 policy to generally avoid entering "sensitive locations" such as schools, places of worship and hospitals to take custody of undocumented immigrants. The policy says enforcement actions can be conducted in those locations in cases of terrorism or when there are "exigent circumstances."

    About 450 houses of worship of various denominations nationwide have offered to provide some form of sanctuary, including living space, financial assistance or rides for schoolchildren, said Alison Harrington, pastor of Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona.

    Globetrotter Guests on Class' Famed Handshake Line

    [NATL] Globetrotter Guests on Class' Famed Handshake Line

    North Carolina grade school teacher Barry White Jr. greets each member of his 5th grade class with a personalized handshake every morning. Video of White delivering these handshakes went viral earlier this year. Today, the teacher had another surprise for his students when Harlem Globetrotter Zeus McClurkin showed up to deliver the handshakes. McClurkin has played with the Harlem Globetrotters for six seasons, and in addition to delivering the famous handshakes, he also offered the students some sage advice: listen to your teachers.

    (Published Wednesday, March 22, 2017)

    Immigrants have been fearful for decades, particularly as deportations increased during the Obama administration, said Harrington, who is involved in the sanctuary movement on a national scale. But Trump's campaign promises to build a wall along the Mexican border, to bar Muslims from entering the country and to deport millions "has really galvanized people," she said.

    The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, with more than 140 congregations, has adopted a resolution calling for "holy resistance" to Trump's immigration proposals and declaring itself a "sanctuary diocese."

    In Philadelphia, a coalition of 17 churches and two synagogues said it has seen a huge uptick in the number of volunteers for a program offering support to immigrants when ICE raids their homes. The program had 65 volunteers in May. In the two weeks following Trump's win, more than 1,000 new volunteers signed up, said Peter Pedemonti, executive director of the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia.

    "We know that we're in a different historical moment right now and that our faith compels us to take increasingly bold actions," Harrington said.

    Some churches have already made good on their promises.

    In Philadelphia, a 40-year-old man from Mexico has been living in the Arch Street United Methodist Church for three weeks.

    Javier Flores entered the U.S. illegally in 1997 and has been deported and re-entered several times since then. After being held in an ICE detention center for over a year, the agency released him for 90 days so he could prepare for deportation. He did not want to be separated from his wife and three children, so he sought refuge, said the Rev. Robin Hynicka, senior pastor.

    "For us, we feel it's a moral obligation to keep families together," Hynicka said.

    Little Girl Takes Pope’s Skullcap

    [NATL] Little Girl Takes Pope’s Skullcap

    A girl had the chance to get up close and personal with Pope Francis on March 22 and used the opportunity to grab his skullcap right off his head.

    (Published Wednesday, March 22, 2017)

    Ingrid Encalata Latorre, an immigrant from Peru, took sanctuary last week with her year-old son, Anibal, at a Quaker meeting house in Denver.

    Latorre, 32, has exhausted appeals of a deportation order and is awaiting a decision on a final, discretional appeal to immigration officials in Washington.

    She left her native Cusco, Peru, in 2000 to join an aunt in Colorado, where she found work as a dishwasher, cared for kids, cleaned homes and worked at assisted living centers, she said. In 2002, she bought fake papers from an unscrupulous street seller.

    She was arrested in 2010 and pleaded guilty to a felony ID theft charge. She paid $11,500 in back taxes and successfully completed parole, but her guilty felony plea brought her to ICE's attention. Advocates arranged for LaTorre and Anibal to stay in the meeting house.

    Dangerous Flash Floods, Landslides Wipe Through Peru

    [NATL] Dangerous Flash Floods, Landslides Wipe Through Peru

    El Nino rains that followed a terrible drought in Peru led to mudslides, flooding and overflowing rivers. The floods have displaced more than 100,000 people and have killed scores across the country. Meteorologists worry that it could get worse, as more rain is expected through April.

    (Published Tuesday, March 21, 2017)

    Anibal, a U.S. citizen, is being treated at Denver's Childrens Hospital for a congenital twisted neck condition; her other son, 8-year-old Bryant, is also a U.S. citizen and attends a bilingual school in suburban Westminster.

    "I have lived half of my life here," she said. "Don't be afraid. Just fight and keep going."