More Columbus religious congregations consider becoming sanctuaries for immigrants

Local News

As tensions rise over the Trump administration’s immigration policies, it appears more faith-based organizations are exploring ways to become sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants facing deportation.

According to the Columbus Sanctuary Collective, which helps organizations become sanctuaries, there are between 10 and 20 churches, synagogues or mosques debating whether to become one.

In light of the images and photos that have emerged within the past few days from the southern border, that number may rise.

“I think it’s only going to make them [congregations] step up more,” said Ruben Castilla Herrera, of the Columbus Sanctuary Collective.

One of the area organizations deciding whether to become a sanctuary is the First Unitarian Universalist Church.

The church members leading the effort to explore the possibility of becoming a sanctuary have said they are further inspired to help, in light of the administration’s separation policy.

“I think a lot of people are seeing this and will probably be thinking very hard about opening their hearts and taking risks,” said Ginnie Vogts. “I think once people have the courage to take the first step, then others will be encouraged and feel heartened and join.”

Church members have been looking at logistics and held several meetings on this issue, during the past year.

“It makes me happy that the conversation was had and is being had, but it pointed out to me also that we have a lot of work to do,” said Reverend Dr. Marian Stewart.

The congregation is expected to vote on whether to become a sanctuary, by early next year.

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