The New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC is an interfaith network of congregations, organizations, and individuals, standing publicly in solidarity with families and communities resisting detention and deportation in order to stay together. We recognize that unjust global and systemic economic relationships and racism form the basis of the injustices that affect immigrants. We seek reform of United States immigration laws to promote fairness, social and economic justice.
We are a branch of the National New Sanctuary Movement.
TO GET INVOLVED, contact:
239 Thompson St
NY, NY 10012
In its 4 years, the New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC (“the Coalition”) has grown from a half-dozen congregations to a City-wide Movement, working in coalition with NYC’s major immigrant organizations to reform immigration enforcement practices and policies, both locally and nationally, with a special focus on preserving family unity. Unlike other faith-based immigration reform advocacy groups, the Coalition operates at the congregational, grass-roots level, and focuses its efforts on reform of current detention and deportation practices, both nationally and in the NYC area.
Early in 2010, the Coalition gained national attention for its successful efforts to prevent the immediate deportation of Haitian immigrant Jean Montrevil, the father of one of its “Sanctuary Families,” and a member of Judson Church. And over the past two years, the Coalition has sparked a major ongoing campaign in NYC – a campaign that is looked to as a model for the nation – in de-coupling local law enforcement from immigration enforcement.
The Coalition has 3 program emphases for 2011: Revival, Witness, and Advocacy. “Revival” aims to increase the membership base by adding more faith communities, and also aims to activate member congregations by involving more of their members in our witness and advocacy programs. “Witness” aims to show both the federal immigration authorities and immigrants that people of faith support the rights of non-citizen immigrants seeking to stay with their families, primarily through our Immigration Accompaniment Program. “Advocacy” aims to continue pushing for NYC and NY State to refuse to be enforcement agents of the federal immigration laws, and to protest deportations that break up families, especially the recent resumption of Haitian deportations.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE NEW SANCTUARY COALITION OF NYC
Early in 2007, the Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper, Senior Minister of Judson Memorial Church in New York City, learned of discussions around creating a new Movement along the lines of the 1980s “Sanctuary Movement.” That Movement had enlisted churches to transport, house, and hide refugees fleeing to the US from the civil wars in El Salvador and Guatemala. In 2007, religious leaders in Chicago and California, plus Juan Carlos Ruiz, then a Catholic priest working with a Mexican immigrant organization in NYC, envisioned a “New Sanctuary Movement,” to engage faith-based groups specifically in support of the 12 million immigrants living in the US without legal status to stay here.
This New Sanctuary Movement proposed to give “sanctuary” to these deportable immigrants, many of whom had US citizen children. Instead of hiding them, however, the New Sanctuary Movement proposed to publicize their stories, to put a human face on the issues, raise public awareness of their plight, and encourage legislative reform.
In NYC, Rev. Schaper and Fr. Ruiz, together with Angad Bhalla (then a Community Minister at Judson Church), convened NYC religious leaders to form a local New Sanctuary Movement chapter. Both the national New Sanctuary Movement and the NYC Coalition were formally launched in May, 2007. The NYC chapter began with nine members and two “Sanctuary Families” with parents at risk of deportation. Founding members included clergy and congregations from the Christian (Roman Catholic and both mainline and evangelical Protestants), Jewish, and Muslim traditions.