President-elect Donald Trump may have a tough love lesson planned for sanctuary cities and the fate of their federal funding – but not if churches have anything to do with it.
As Fox News reported, churches around the nation are stepping up their efforts to shelter the illegals that Trump may want to toss, thwarting any attempts on the part of the incoming administration to crack down on sanctuary cities.
From Fox News:
“Hundreds of houses of worship around the nation have pledged to provide safe harbor to illegal immigrants facing deportation, as have cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New York City. While Trump may relish a policy and funding fight with the leaders of Democratic strongholds, imposing his administration’s will on churches could be another matter.
“‘There is a long tradition in American law enforcement of not breaking into churches in order to arrest someone unless the person is wanted for an act of violence,’ Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano told FoxNews.com. ‘In order for the police or for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to enter a church against the will of a priest or minister who is running the church, they need an arrest warrant for a specific human being –short of that, they’re not going to go in there.’
“In New York City alone, there are 11 congregations that offer sanctuary for illegal immigrants, and according to the Rev. Donna Schaper, senior minister of Judson Memorial Church, more could follow.
“‘There has been a tremendous increase in interest since the election,” Schaper told FoxNews.com. “The newly elected president is threatening to deport many of them and they want to be safe—churches have a moral mandate to help people in a way that is different than cities in general.’
“Schaper is a founder of New Sanctuary Movement New York, an interfaith network of congregations that help to provide spiritual, financial, emotional and legal support to illegal immigrants. In some cases, those under the church’s protection move into the building and live there indefinitely.”
In Philadelphia, the New Santuary Movement has seen requests to sign up spike in recent days – specifically, since the election.
At the same time, it’s not exactly clear what Trump’s plans for deportations of illegals are. From the campaign trail, he spoke bluntly of deporting illegals. But in recent times, he said he’d prefer to focus deportations on those in the country illegally who’ve committed crimes.
Either way, the churches could throw a kink into Trump’s plans.
Again, from Fox:
“‘There are limits to the protection a church can provide, however. Napolitano said illegal immigrants not accused of any subsequent crime cannot be pursued into churches. But no church can shelter a dangerous criminal.
“‘If the person is a fugitive from justice or has escaped from jail or is hiding from a search warrant, then yes – the church is breaking the law by shielding him,’ Napolitano said. ‘But if he is not a fugitive from justice, and just living here illegally, it is not a crime for a church to give him food, shelter, or clothing.’
“One member of Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board told FoxNews.com Trump has no intention of carrying out mass deportations.”