A Presbyterian church in Tuscon, Arizona is taking a bold stand in support of undocumented immigrants, announcing on Monday that, for the second time in three months, it will grant “sanctuary” to an undocumented immigrant currently facing deportation by federal officials.
Rosa Imelda Robles Loreto, an undocumented immigrant who is said to have a husband, two children (ages 9 and 11), a house, and no criminal history, is scheduled to be deported back to Mexico this Friday at the hands of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. But Rev. Alison Harrington, pastor of Southside Presbyterian Church in Tuscon, said Monday that she and her congregation disagree with ICE’s position, and plan to pressure immigration agents into delaying or rescinding the deportation order by housing Loreto in their church.
“We seek to follow Christ who commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves and also to offer radical hospitality to those in need,” Harrington told ThinkProgress. “The scriptures tell us to care for the widow and the orphan, and our immigration system creates widows and orphans every day … So we are standing by undocumented families and not allowing them to be torn apart.”
This is the second time since May that the tiny Tuscon congregation has taken in an undocumented immigrant in defiance of federal law. Earlier this year, the church made headlines for granting sanctuary to Daniel Neyoy Ruiz, an immigrant father who came from Mexico 14 years ago. He was detained and scheduled to be sent back to Mexico after being stopped by police for a smoky exhaust pipe, but, after spending a month under the care of Southside Presbyterian, ICE changed its position and granted Ruiz a one-year stay of his deportation order.