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What Does National Sanctuary Movement Mean to Immigration Reform Debate?

LatinaLista — News has arrived that Elvira Arellano, the young Mexican mother who has sought sanctuary in a Chicago church and who went on a hunger strike to protest the government’s actions against undocumented immigrants, is now eating.

She gave up her fast in light of the official adoption of churches across the country of a National Sanctuary Movement.

Churches, from all faiths, are opening their doors to undocumented immigrants who are in danger of their families being split by deportation.

Participating churches in San Diego, Seattle, Chicago and New York will provide the immigrants with legal counsel, accompany them to court hearings and only provide housing for them in the churches when the authorities attempt to deport them.

Even though churches of all denominations have been preaching against the tactics of the government, aka ICE, in conducting pre-dawn or worksite raids and carting parents off while leaving the children behind, this show of solidarity against the government brings the immigration reform debate to a new level.

It is no longer just a legal fight; it has officially become a moral/social justice war.

And when people have the moral conviction to defend their beliefs, no amount of legal rulings will ever be enough to counteract those beliefs — not even the law.

By letting it go this long and making churches take this stand, the government has relinquished their control of the issue.

At this point, it doesn’t matter what is passed in Congress. If it fails to fall in line with the moral thinkers of this nation, whatever law that is passed will be fought.

The only question is how fiercely will the law be enforced and how fiercely will it be fought?

Congressional leaders have only themselves to blame for furthering the divide in this country.

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