FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 1, 2017

CONTACT:   Rae Anne Lafrenz | 503.550.3510 | portlandsanctuary@gmail.com  / Sarah Loose | 503.367.0157 | sanctuarycohort@gmail.com

INTERFAITH MOVEMENT FOR IMMIGRANT JUSTICE ANNOUNCES THAT SANCTUARY IN OREGON IS RISING,IN RESISTANCE TO TRUMP’S EXECUTIVE ORDERS

Oregon faith communities, along with the rest of the nation, have seen what President Trump’s executive ordering can do to Muslim people of faith and to the immigrant community. IMIrJ says that now is the time to show the new administration what all people of faith can do together.

Over 350 individuals from nearly 50 faith communities and organizations from across Oregon gathered together on January 15th at a Sanctuary Assembly to publicly proclaim their readiness and willingness to offer safe haven and support the provision of Sanctuary for immigrants and refugees facing greater and more frightening persecution in the Trump presidency. 

With more than 25 faith communities now committed to be active members in Oregon’s sanctuary movement, people are doing what Congress has refused to do for so long: protect immigrant families from a broken immigration system that tragically separates families and deports people who are woven into the fabric of communities and congregations.

A broad IMIrJ-led coalition of Oregonians are prepared to take direct action to protest the laws and policies of this administration. These actions include public acts of protest, rapid response to ICE raids and detentions, providing accompaniment for immigrants and refugees experiencing persecution, and supporting and offering sanctuary. Faith communities will act to resist the normalization of the new executive decisions and defend those most vulnerable in our communities.

“We know Sanctuary, in all senses of the word, is a radical response - but these are some pretty radical times. Are we going to let the government destroy our community and ruin people’s lives? There is no way people of conscience are going to stand by and let this happen,” said Rae Anne Lafrenz, Coordinator for the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice.

IMIrJ volunteers and member congregations are ready to seek justice, to resist, and to protect. A public pledge by faith communities to support and to provide sanctuary for community members reflects a commitment to the deep ties and relationships with immigrant and refugee neighbors.

Rev. Christopher Craun of St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal said that “St. Michael's is ready to provide Sanctuary today because the people who are being threatened are members of our family. If knowing that the church is ready with a hedge of protection against hateful and divisive policies offers people who are living in catastrophic fear even a moment of respite, then our work is clear.”

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Learn more about IMIrJ and the sanctuary movement in Oregon: www.imirj.org