United Sanctuaries of America

"When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. He shall be as native among you, and you shall love him as yourself...

Leviticus 19:33

Recent statements from the administration indicate that Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) will conduct a mass wave of raids in nearly a dozen major cities in the coming days. The targets of this operation include more than 2,000 families with members who have received deportation orders. These are our neighbors, our friends, our children’s classmates, our fellow congregants. They are us.

Introducing united sanctuaries of america

In collaboration with a broad range of faith and community partners, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) has launched the United Sanctuaries of America (USA) campaign: an immediate call to action, asking additional faith-based communities and grassroots groups to stand with us against mass ICE raids and demand that the administration suspend its family deportation operation.

If the administration does not heed this call and instead executes its planned enforcement operations, LIRS will help connect affected communities across the nation with local sanctuary leaders and the resources needed to take immediate action to protect vulnerable migrant families. Our mission is three-fold:

  • Recruit more places of worship as providers of Sanctuary to any person fearful of deportation without due process
  • Enlist the support of community organizations and nonprofits to ensure that Sanctuary providers have access to vital resources they may need (legal assistance, logistical support, knowledge and training, etc.)
  • Raise awareness among threatened communities that there is a nationwide support system in place to protect its members.

This call to action is supported by national networks and organizations, including New Sanctuary Coalition, Hispanic Heritage Foundation, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), Mary’s Center and Hispanic Federation as well as individual congregations throughout the country – all of whom seek to reclaim America as a place of refuge. This response is consistent with longstanding federal policy, which recognizes that ICE agents will not breach the hallowed sanctuary of a house of worship.

Join the thousands of congregations and organizations from across the country who call on the administration to put a stop to the Family Deportation raids. We must come together to protect those who are fearful of deportation without due process, and you can do your part by committing to support a sanctuary space or creating one through your congregation or community.  When you sign the United Sanctuaries of America pledge below, you will receive access to digital toolkit of resources developed by our partners.


Why support Sanctuary?

Bear prophetic witness to the power of Sanctuary as demonstrated by the pastoral leadership and congregants of Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Seattle, Washington. This sanctuary church is currently answering a higher call in caring for Jose Robles, an immigrant husband and father of three daughters targeted by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation.

Keep the robles family together

Jose Robles, a longtime Washington resident, was wrongfully denied his ability to pursue the U-visa process by Lakewood police after falling victim to a violent crime. This consequently left Jose on a path to deportation. With his U-visa application still pending, Jose has been forced to seek Sanctuary for nearly a year, rather than be torn apart from his wife and three daughters.

Photo credit: Matt M. McKnight | Crosscut

Now, Jose and his legal team will have to meet with ICE on Wednesday, July 17th to file a stay of removal to keep him in the country while he pursues a legal pathway through his pending U-visa. We know that Jose faces a gruesome political climate. This is why we are coming together across the country to demand that ICE not detain or deport Jose while his U-visa application is still in process. We cannot stand idly by while the Robles family is torn apart.



What is a Sanctuary Congregation?

A Sanctuary Congregation is one that chooses to take prophetic action and protect people through various actions that range from housing immigrants in immediate danger of deportation to providing legal assistance, accompaniment to court, organizing alongside us, and much more. If you’re already doing some of this work, then you are a Sanctuary Congregation!

There are so many congregations already involved that have yet to be officially counted. Sign above to say your congregation supports sanctuary and encourage other congregations you know to do the same.


Contact us at USA@lirs.org

Newsletter Sign Up
Stay up to date with everything going on at LIRS.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.