Sanctuary in the age of President Trump? It's tricky and risky
Rev. Francisco Garcia, Jr. knows how difficult it can be for an immigrant to endure church-offered sanctuary.
Sanctuary, Garcia added, needs to be “a temporary” thing. “If it's not a (deportation) case that's likely to get overturned, (offering sanctuary) doesn't make sense...for the family and for the movement." ...
Offering sanctuary also can be legally risky.
In the 1980s, several church leaders around the country were prosecuted under federal law for offering sanctuary to refugees from Central America. Of 11 Sanctuary-affiliated people tried in Tucson, Arizona in 1986, three were acquitted, six got five years' probation, and two received three years probation. Others doing sanctuary work elsewhere spent some months in prison or in a half-way house.
Joel Fetzer, a political science professor at Pepperdine University, said if someone has no legitimate claim to asylum in this country and takes refuge in a church, immigration officers could claim “with some plausibility that the church is violating federal law, and there’s a legal right to seize him and detain him.” ...