Hundreds of churches in the US have said they are willing to provide sanctuary for undocumented migrants threatened with deportation following the election of Donald Trump as president.
About 300 churches nationally have come forward in the past two weeks, according to the Philadelphia-based New Sanctuary Movement. It has also seen the number of people in the city registering as volunteers for its “sanctuary in the streets” programme rise from 65 to more than 1,000 since the election.
The Church World Service estimates 400 churches nationwide are willing to open their doors to people at risk of deportation. A growing number of synagogues are also involved in actions to prevent deportations.
Meanwhile, about two dozen cities – including New York, Chicago, Seattle, Philadelphia and Los Angeles – have declared themselves “sanctuary cities”, with mayors pledging to refuse to cooperate with federal immigration orders that could lead to deportations. Trump has said he will block federal funding to such cities.
During his election campaign, Trump said he would deport an estimated 11 million undocumented migrants from the United States. Since becoming president-elect, he has said he plans to immediately deport or incarcerate 2 to 3 million undocumented migrants who have been convicted of crimes.
“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, we have a lot of these people, probably 2 million, it could even be 3 million, we are getting them out of the country or we are going to incarcerate. But we’re getting them out of our country, they’re here illegally,” Trump told 60 Minutes a few days after the election.