February 4, 2021
Immigrants In Sanctuary At Churches Hope Biden Offers Relief (Associated Press) – For over three years, Maria Macario has lived in the white steepled First Parish church in Bedford. The 55-year-old Guatemala native moved in to avoid deportation, living in a converted Sunday school classroom with a kitchenette.
She’s among dozens of people from Colorado to North Carolina who have taken sanctuary as a last resort to stay in the country. Their actions have been extreme, particularly those who have declared their whereabouts. Many immigrants without legal status, who were increasingly fearful and anxious during the Trump years, upended their daily routines to evade detection, including avoiding driving. Newly hopeful, they’re trying to capitalize on the moment, even with setbacks like a Texas judge’s ruling blocking the Biden administration from enforcing its deportation moratorium and uncertainty over whether Congress will tackle immigration reform.
The modern sanctuary movement began in the 1980s as Central Americans fleeing war and poverty came to the U.S. and churches stepped in to offer protection. It was long an unwritten rule that churches, playgrounds and schools were off-limits to immigration agents. The Obama administration put it to paper in 2011, largely prohibiting arrests and searches there.
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