Sanctuary Work

Free Migration Project believes that sanctuary work—highly-visible, community-supported removal defense campaigns centered around undocumented people taking refuge in churches—could play an important role in building public support for policy change, much as the Sanctuary Movement of the 1980s did and as the undocumented youth movement has in recent years.

Under Immigration and Customs Enforcement(ICE)’s “sensitive locations” policy, the agency does not raid churches, providing people in sanctuary protection from immediate deportation. Free Migration Project represents 3 families living in sanctuary in Philadelphia churches in their legal cases. In some cases, including those of our clients in sanctuary, Free Migration Project works with grassroots community groups to elevate a case into a public campaign. These campaigns can create the space needed to win legal protections when a conventional legal strategy alone would not succeed. Free Migration Project empowers our clients to speak publicly about their struggle for justice, which in turn encourages others to speak out.