Undocumented immigrants gain sanctuary in Reno church

A church in Reno has become one of a rising number of places of worship that have decided to offer sanctuary to undocumented immigrants who are illegally living in the United States. The Reno Gazette-Journal says that earlier this month the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada became the first church in the state to offer an undocumented immigrant sanctuary within its walls.

The Reverend Neal Anderson said he views the decision to give sanctuary as a way to uphold the values of his congregation and does not see it as breaking the law. “Our declaration of sanctuary is a way to express our opposition and a desire to see an immigration system that treats families in a way that allows them to stay together,” he explained.

Anderson went on to say that Unitarian Universalists are committed to affirming and promoting the dignity and worth of every human being and that they do so as a result of their deep religious convictions. He added that his congregation feels the need to give assistance to immigrant families that have already resided in the United States for a number of years.

A space in the rear of the church has been converted into a room to provide immigrants with sanctuary and includes blankets, towels and a cot.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are discouraged from entering ‘sensitive’ places such as schools and churches to make arrests, a 2011 memo revealed.