What is the current demand and why now?
Trump’s current Executive order states that all deportations are a priority, similar to the first 4 years of the Obama administration. However, in the last 4 years of the Obama administration the situation was different. Currently when someone has final orders of deportation, the flights are often already purchased and there is no time to re-act. The new reality is that stays of deportation are not being granted for humanitarian reasons. If a stay is granted for another reason the maximum stay is 90 days. Also, the level of fear in the immigrant community is high because of the current rhetoric.
Who goes into Sanctuary?
People who ask for sanctuary have final orders of deportation. They have already exhausted most legal alternatives. They are usually in the process of one last effort to get a legal solution. Asking to go into sanctuary is a political statement. People who go into sanctuary are not only giving up personal freedom, but are also willing to make their lives public.
What is the Role of the Denver Metro Sanctuary Coalition?
Most of the individuals who ask for sanctuary have been supported by the Coalition for a period of time. Each participant is vetted and the Host Congregation is provided information about the Immigrant. The Coalition also has funds to help the Host Congregation prepare space for the immigrant. And the immigrant community often volunteers their time to help prepare the space.
So, Why UUCB as a Host Congregation?
We — as a Supporting Congregation — have been a member of the Coalition since its birth. Our Immigration Ministry has been active since 2012 and has already done educational work with the UUCB congregation. Our UUCB members are more educated and more aware than many congregations in the local area.
What are our Next Steps?
- The UUCB Board of Trustees Recommends we move quickly and thoroughly inform the Voting Members about becoming a Sanctuary Host Church.
- The UUCB Board of Trustees recommends we set the target date of September 24, 2017 for a Special Congregational Meeting to vote on becoming a Sanctuary Host Church.
- A new sub-ministry of the Immigration Ministry will be called Sanctuary Now Ministry. It will be composed of church members from Immigration Ministry and from additional committees. At this time the following members have committed to serve on the Sanctuary Now Ministry: Jenny Fitt-Peaster, Mary Dineen, Fred Cole, Caitlin Moore and Kaitlin Abbitt. Phil Wittmeyer has agreed to consult with the ministry regarding safety issues and building & grounds needs.
- Sanctuary Now Ministry will host Sanctuary Now Gatherings and educational forums for our Congregation. They will meet with Affinity groups to discuss sanctuary.
- We are not alone. Other churches in the Boulder, Louisville and Lafayette area in the process of becoming Supporting Congregations. Members of these congregations will take responsibility for tasks such as shopping, carpooling, laundry, meal preparation, etc.
There are probably more questions. You may email a member of the Ministry at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We will proceed down this path and find the answers together.