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Faith leaders reignite the original sanctuary movement

Judy Silber
Reverend Deborah Lee speaking at the West County Detention facility in Richmond.


In the 1980s, hundreds of congregations across the country declared themselves to be sanctuaries, safe havens for refugees fleeing civil war in Central America. Today, there’s a revival underway of that original refugee sanctuary movement, in which churches make themselves sanctuary spaces. More than 800 congregations have signed on to offer refuge to undocumented immigrants who face deportation orders. Reverend Deborah Lee is program director of the The Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, which advocates on behalf of immigrants.

Lee: The way that the sanctuary movement has interpreted that law is that harboring means concealing and actually what we're doing is public sanctuary. So we're coming out to the public because we're actually counting on public support.

This interview was produced by KALW's The Spiritual Edge.