COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Undocumented immigrants in our community are breathing a sigh of relief as one local church declared their building as a sanctuary on Monday.
All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church is the first church in Colorado Springs to publicly offer their building as a safe place for immigrants at risk of deportation.
Churches have been offering sanctuary to immigrants since the Sanctuary Movement began in the 1980s.
“We are really focusing on keeping families together focusing on the integrity of our community,” said the founder of the new Colorado Springs Sanctuary Coalition, Candace Datz.
President Trump’s recent executive order on Immigration signed in January read in part: “Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States. These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our republic.”
“We are not afraid to stand up against unjust policies and laws, that we believe are immoral,” said Candace Datz.
According to a U.S. Immigrant and Customer Enforcement internal policy, “enforcement actions are not to occur at or be focused on sensitive locations such as schools, hospitals, or places of worship.”
Sylvia H, an immigrant who has been in the Colorado Springs community for 14 years, shares her opinion through her interpreter.
“We came here to help our families prosper,” said Sylvia. “This doesn’t mean it’s still not a possibility but we feel a little bit more relieved that our families will remain united.”
There are four churches in town that are part of the Colorado Springs Sanctuary Coalition, but only All Souls Church has the capacity to be able to host one person.
The church plans to have strategy sessions in the coming months on how they will take sanctuary requests.
When offering sanctuary to immigrants, the individual must be facing immediate risk of being deported and also be actively working to obtain citizenship.
They will also be fundraising to cover logistics like food, laundry, and even assist with legal fees.