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NC churches training to offer refuge to immigrants facing deportation

Posted September 16

— People of faith across the Triangle are coming together this weekend in hopes of providing sanctuaries for immigrants.

The two-day conference is training churches on how to offer refuge for immigrants at risk of deportation, and the movement has already gained traction in North Carolina.

“I mean, it’s really what we believe in and what our faith compels us to do, which is welcome our neighbors and show them hospitality,” said Jeannie Belle with the North Carolina Council of Churches.

Belle spent Saturday talking to local clergy members about sanctuaries, like the kind where Minerva Cisneros Garcia lives.

“I was seeking for security and education for my son,” Garcia said.

Garcia is one of three immigrants facing deportation who have found refuge in a North Carolina church. In June, she and her two small children, along with an adult son who is blind, moved into the Congregational United Church of Christ in Greensboro.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has a policy that bars agents from making arrests at churches and schools.

Pastor Julie Peeples said Garcia is taking classes online and her children are enrolled in school.

“Minerva Garcia is incredibly strong. She’s doing well,” Peeples said. “It’s heart-wrenching, so we really do need more and more congregations to join us.”

That is why Peeples was at the United Church of Chapel Hill on Saturday, making the case for immigrant sanctuaries.

Susan Steinberg, the church’s head of staff, wants to open her own doors.

“We’re just becoming more and more aware of the injustices and inconsistencies and very human cost of policy decisions and policy changes and honestly policy chaos,” Steinberg said.

Advocates of immigrant sanctuaries say they are not hiding anyone. They said churches make authorities aware that they are taking in an immigrant who is at risk of deportation.


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  • tommy69 Sep 18, 12:17 a.m.

    So churches want to get into politics, that's fine with me as soon as they pay taxes.

  • Jerry Sawyer Sep 17, 9:02 p.m.
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    These Churches want to give sanctuary to these illegal criminals. They have broken our federal immigration laws. But these Churches don't care. They are doing what they feel is the "morally right" thing to do. Only one problem with that. God expects us to obey laws. These Churches don't feel we should have any immigration laws. They don't care if the rest of the country does. Most of us want immigrants coming into our country who want to assimilate into our culture and love the USA. Of course, most of those who are liberal socialist hate our capitalist system. May God help this country.

  • Lauren Little Sep 17, 7:40 p.m.
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    Nc churches training how to break the law. Nice.

  • Henry Davis Sep 17, 11:27 a.m.
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    They are all fly by night cult churches.

  • William Sherman Sep 17, 2:35 a.m.
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    Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars, and unto God the things that are God's. That includes obeying the laws.

  • Eric Bohlen Sep 16, 11:16 p.m.
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    Churches are in this for the $$. Don't be fooled. They see their coffers growing with influx of refugees.

  • Ronald Woodard Sep 16, 7:59 p.m.
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    So some churches are OK with people illegally in our nation taking jobs that belong to unemployed citizens not to forget illegal immigration drives down the wages of low-skilled workers along with these churches aiding and abetting law breakers in violation of our immigration laws, understanding the USA is the most generous nation on Earth with legal immigration on average?