National News

Springfield church becomes sanctuary for undocumented residents

Posted June 16

— A Springfield church will become a sanctuary for undocumented residents.

The city alone is home to up to 6,000 people who do not have citizenship.

South Congregational Church on Maple Street in Springfield, will offer physical sanctuary to those who are facing immediate deportation.

The church will provide everything from beds to food, to become a real sanctuary for those who may feel unsafe.

Since President Donald Trump's first day in office, United States immigration and customs enforcement has increased arrests by roughly 40 percent.

Pastor Gerstenlauer told Western Mass News that the decision to host undocumented residents is more about religion than politics.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said he is against the sanctuary announcement.

"To bring sanctuary to something that is not legal, I'd rather see more facilitation be done to help these people become residents of the United States of America," he noted.

Religious leaders and members of pioneer valley project who are fighting for racial and economic justice in Springfield, said they're open to having a conversation with Mayor Sarno.

The project is for temporary stays rather than for permanent housing.

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