By Manya Brachear Pashman - Contact Reporter - Chicago Tribune
Alarmed by President Donald Trump's campaign proposals to crack down on immigration and subsequent executive orders that called for barring refugees and expediting deportations, hundreds of churches, synagogues and mosques nationwide — and about two dozen in the Chicago area — are considering the bold move to provide sanctuary to immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally.
"When Trump was elected, it turned into an immediate priority situation," said the Rev. Beth Brown, pastor of Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church, the first Chicago house of worship since the election to offer immigrants who are facing deportation a place to stay.
As the political climate shifts, immigration activists say the nature of the sanctuary movement could change. Though federal authorities say they will continue to avoid raiding hospitals, schools and houses of worship, activists fear that sacred spaces could become targets under the new administration. Historically aimed at changing policies through public campaigns and protest, the sanctuary movement could be forced underground.
Last week, a mother of four with two misdemeanor convictions sought sanctuary in the basement of a Denver church after authorities denied her request for a stay of deportation. How her case plays out could determine how congregations play a role going forward.