​National Immigrant Leaders​​​​ Living in Sanctuary ​and Faith Allies ​Hold Public Video Summit to Strengthen National Sanctuary Movement

January 15, 2018

​AUSTIN, Texas​ -- On Tuesday, January 16th at ​6:30 PM CT, Hilda Ramirez and her son Ivan,​ currently living in sanctuary in St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church of Austin, will join others living in sanctuary from Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina ​to uplift their fight against deportations and unjust immigration policies. The ​group will be joined via live video conference to share the experiences and challenges of living in sanctuary​. They will be joined by faith leaders to demand just immigration policies that do not ​target and criminalize ​immigrant communities for detention and deportation.

Participants will also discuss the risks encountered by churches who open their doors to those ​facing deportation and the need for local elected officials to act for the safety and well-being for all immigrants in their communities against ICE and federal attacks on “sanctuary cities.”​

“Providing sanctuary for sojourners is at the historical heart of many religious faiths, but it also something that calls us all," said Rev. Jim Rigby, pastor of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church where Hilda and Ivan are currently taking sanctuary.​ ​"​Providing sanctuary in an age of violence and cruelty is how we hold onto our human hearts."​

Hilda will speak during Tuesday’s call as she returns to sanctuary to fight her and her son’s deportations. After living in sanctuary for eight months and winning an affirmative deferred action in October 2016, the family now faces imminent threat of removal.

The sanctuary movement has gained particular momentum in Austin. On September 5, Alirio Gámez took sanctuary at First Unitarian Universalist Church and remains fighting his deportation to certain harm in El Salvador. The Austin Sanctuary Network, a body of 26 congregations and social justice organizations, has called on ICE officials to use their prosecutorial discretion to halt deportations. The multi-faith network uses sanctuary as a tool to resist unjust and immoral practices that destroy lives and to join the larger immigrant rights struggle for justice and dignity.​

WHAT: Immigrants living in sanctuary and faith leaders hold summit to bring those living in sanctuary from across the country together in one room, call on ICE to stop deportations

WHEN: Tuesday, January 16th at ​6:30 p.m. CT

WHERE: ​St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, 14311 Wells Port Dr, Austin, TX 78728
Zoom access to event for media only: Register here
To ask questions during event, text your question to: (512)-910-1759

Hilda Ramirez and her son Ivan, People in Sanctuary, Austin Sanctuary Network​
Alejandro Caceres, Austin Sanctuary Network, Grassroots Leadership​

Edith Espinal, Person in sanctuary at Columbus Mennonite Church, Columbus, OH
Leonor Garcia, Person in sanctuary at Forest Hill Presbyterian Church, Cleveland Heights, OH
Rev. Joel Miller, Pastor of Columbus Mennonite Church, Columbus, OH
Ruben Castilla Herrera, Immigrant Justice Organizer, Columbus, OH​

North Carolina
Eliseo Jimenez-Madrigales, Person in sanctuary, Umstead Park United Church of Christ
Gary Sanders, Volunteer Coordinator, Umstead Park UCC
Samuel Oliver-Bruno, Person in sanctuary, CityWell United Methodist Church
Daniela Hernandez-Blanco, Organizer, Alerta Migratoria NC

Carmela Apolonio Hernandez, Person in sanctuary, Church of the Advocate
Jazmín Delgado, New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia



Alejandro Caceres, acaceres@grassrootsleadership.org, (512) 499-8111