Southern Arizona Sanctuary Coalition - Sanctuary Movement in the Trump Era

New Strategy and Tactics in the Post-Election Reality

Sanctuary Pledge

As people of faith and people of conscience, we pledge to resist the newly elected Administration’s policy proposals to target and deport millions of undocumented immigrants, and discriminate against marginalized communities. We will open up our congregations and communities as sanctuary spaces for those targeted by hate, and work alongside our friends, families and neighbors to ensure the dignity and human rights of all people.

Sanctuary as a Tactic Will Change

There are over four hundred congregations that have been supportive of the Sanctuary Movement by joining an organized movement of faith to stop deportations. Since May 2014, we have been able to stop fifteen deportation orders through public cases wherein an undocumented person has lived in a church until they were able to win a stay of removal or other deportation relief. In addition, the Sanctuary Movement has helped stop dozens of deportations before physical Sanctuary became necessary.

Nobody knows exactly what the Trump Administration will do on immigration, but the President-elect has said they will deport at least 3 million undocumented people. They will also likely revoke President Obama’s Executive Actions on immigration prosecutorial discretion guidelines, which means it would be very hard, but not impossible, to win a stay of removal for public cases.

This new era will require to work of sanctuary to adapt. We must do more than establish congregations that are willing to physically house someone — although this aspect of sanctuary will continue to be important. As communities of faith we must work alongside those most directly affected by unjust and immoral policies and practices knowing that the only safe spaces that we will find will be the ones we create.

Understanding that sanctuary is not just an act of a congregation but is the work of a community, the faith community should heed these principles:

1.    Respect and follow the leadership of directly affected folks

2.   Be steadfast in our adherence to our own faith traditions

3.   Be relentlessly imaginative and brave

4.   Pledge our highest allegiance to the mandates of our faith and not to the laws of the land

Discerning God’s Call for your Congregation

Make the Ground Fertile for the Work

¥    Preach about justice issues

¥    Engage in prayer as individuals, in small groups, and as a congregation

Plant the Seeds for the Work

¥    Engage in congregational education on the issues. See contact below for resources

Grow the Work!

¥    Take the Sanctuary Pledge (or develop your own congregational statement for what faith in action means to you in this new context)

¥    Engage in sanctuary work and join the coalition!

Broadening the Scope of Sanctuary in a Trump Era: Ways to Engage

¥    Open our houses of worship as safe spaces for community meetings and organizing work

¥    Use the resources of congregations to support immigrant-led organizing i.e. through financial support and donations of things like copier usage

¥    Participate in the Childcare Collective by engaging your children’s ministry staff and volunteers to provide childcare at community meetings.

¥    Develop a team of volunteers that are engaged in the work of local organizations

¥    Establish a Protection Network in your congregation for those who might be targeted for deportation

¥    Organize local prayer vigils

¥    Be part of Sanctuary on the Streets (Rapid Raid Response)

¥    Open your home to those needing temporary housing

¥    Open your congregation to those needing sanctuary

¥    Hold Know Your Rights Trainings

¥    Engage in Bond Support for individuals in detention

¥    Visit and Write to those in Detention

¥    Engage in community organizing to make our communities safer for those who are undocumented, refugees, Muslims, LGBTQ, and others who might come under attack

¥    Sign on to the Sanctuary Pledge!

The list of ideas goes on — the point is to discern how God might be calling you and your congregation to live out your faith in this moment. When each of us engages in this work in the unique ways in which we are called, we will find that pew by pew, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood we are creating space that upholds the rights, dignity, and worth of each and every one of us — in short we are declaring sanctuary everywhere.

Find more information at

The next Coalition meeting is set to take place on March 20th @ 6:30pm -- Southside Presbyterian Church. For any questions or comments please don't respond to this email but to

Local contact information:
Amy Beth Willis:
Alison Harrington: