Letter to President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. in Support of Sanctuary Leaders:
Dear President Joseph R. Biden Jr.,*

We write to you as immigrant rights organizations, faith groups, and advocates to express our support for sanctuary families currently living in houses of worship around the United States. We are extremely concerned by the lack of action and leadership on this particular issue, especially in the face of some of the cruelest retaliatory actions by the current administration.

We, who represent community organizations, faith groups, and advocates, ask Joseph R. Biden Jr., to publicly stand with us in support of these brave people living in sanctuary. We ask President Biden to commit to 1) exercise favorable prosecutorial discretion to grant a stay of removal to each person living in sanctuary on your first day in office; 2) within the first 100 days of your presidency, lift the deportation orders against all people living in sanctuary; and 3) sign into law all private bills for people living in sanctuary that Congress sends to your desk.

Over the last four-and-a-half years, dozens of people around the country have taken refuge in houses of worship as their only option to be safe from deportation, and to keep their families intact. Some of these families have roots in the United States spanning more than two decades, some have U.S. citizen children, others arrived at the border seeking refuge and pleading for protection from unimaginable violence. Instead, they were met with an immigration system that threatens to send them back to countries where they will likely face harm and even death.

The Trump administration tried to turn sanctuary into an offensive word, but at its very core, sanctuary represents resilience and human dignity. Families living in sanctuary have been pleading with elected officials to find national policy solutions to this issue, which would have implications for thousands of people. So far, they have been met with excuses and inaction from our elected leadership. It is time for elected officials to act.

Sanctuary leaders have faced targeted retaliation from DHS over the past year. ICE has threatened to impose exorbitant fines, upwards of $497,999, as well as potential criminal prosecution. These targeted threats raise serious concerns for us, who believe in the right of people to seek refuge and to exercise their freedom of speech and religion. These are in fact, two of the most fundamental rights protected by our Constitution.

Those in Sanctuary have suffered enough. Their stories can be found here: https://bit.ly/sanctuarystories. Their confinement has been long and the injustices they experience are ongoing. Your actions can bring them the relief they need and deserve. Now is the time to support and honor the brave fight and leadership of people living in sanctuary and their commitment to resist the retaliatory actions of the current administration. Be the one who honors political expression in support of immigrants’ rights in the United States and not the one who punishes immigrants for seeking liberty and justice.

*Please note that the letter has been updated to reflect that Joe Biden is now the U.S. President.


African Services Committee, New York, NY
American Friends Service Committee, Denver, CO
Anderson & Benson PLLC, Taylorsville, UT
Angry Tías and Abuelas of the Rio Grande Valley, Rio Grande Valley, TX
Antizionist Shabbat Western Mass, Northampton, MA
ArteSana Inc, Holyoke, MA
Asian Americans United, Philadelphia, PA
Association for the Tree of Life, Pullman, WA
Austin Mennonite Church, Austin, TX
Austin Sanctuary Network, Austin, TX
Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera, Austin, TX
Berks Stands Up, Reading PA
Berkshire Labor Assembly/Western Mass Area Labor Federation, MA
Buen Vecino, Ventura County, CA
Cache Valley Unitarian Universalists, Logan, UT
Capitol Hill Activist Group, Salt Lake City, UT
Casa San Jose, Pittsburgh, PA
Ceiba, Philadelphia, PA
Chavurah B'Yachad, Salt Lake City, UT
Church World Service - Lancaster, Lancaster, PA
Church World Service (National)
Civil Liberties Defense Center, Eugene, OR
Columbine Unitarian Universalist Church, Littleton, CO
Columbus Mennonite Church, Columbus, OH
Coming Together: Understanding Racism, Working for Justice & Building Connections, MA
Comunidades Unidas, Salt Lake City, UT
CRSH-Coalition for Restaurant Safety and Health, Philadelphia, PA
Cville Immigrant Freedom Fund, Charlottesville, VA
Decarcerate Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Elders Rising for Intergenerational Justice, Salt Lake City, UT
Enriching Utah Coalition, Salt Lake City, UT
Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit, Greensboro, NC
Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services, Reynoldsburg, OH
Every. Last. One., Los Angeles, CA
FaithAction International House, Greensboro, NC
Faithful Friends, Sacramento, CA
First Churches of Northampton, Northampton, MA
First Congregtional Church, UCC, Amherst, MA
First Unitarian Church of Columbus, OH
First Unitarian Church, Salt Lake City, UT
First UU Church of Austin, Austin, TX
Follen Church, Lexington, MA
Free Migration Project, Philadelphia, PA
Friends Meeting of Austin, TX
Germantown Mennonite Church, Philadelphia, PA
HIAS and Council Migration Services, Philadelphia, PA
Iglesia Cristiana Sin Fronteras, Winston-Salem, NC
Iglesia Nuevo Amanecer, Boston, MA
Indivisible Sacramento, Sacramento, CA
Indivisible Ventura, Ventura, CA
Interfaith Welcome Coalition, San Antonio, TX
International Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Women, Houston, TX
International Rescue Committee, Salt Lake City, UT
Japanese American Citizens League, Philadelphia Chapter, Philadelphia, PA
Japanese American Citizens League, San Jose Chapter, San Jose, CA
Jewish Activists For Immigration Justice Western Massachusetts, MA
Juntos, Philadelphia, PA
La Puerta Abierta, Inc., Philadelphia, PA
La Red de Solidaridad, Salt Lake City, UT
Law Offices of Lizbeth Mateo, P.C., Los Angeles, CA
Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition, Long Beach, CA
Longmont Unitarian Universalist Presence, Longmont, CO
Lucy Parsons Labs, Chicago, IL
LULAC Young Adult Council 44016, Salt Lake City, UT
Magdalene Ministry, Llano, TX
Make the Road PA , Allentown, PA
Mano Amiga, Hays County, TX
Massachusetts Jobs with Justice
Mestizo Institute of Culture and Arts, Salt Lake City, UT
Migrant and Immigrant Community Action Project, St. Louis, MO
Morgan Valley Christian Church, Morgan, UT
Mount Toby Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), MA
Mountain View United Church, Aurora, CO
Movement for Family Power, Washington, D.C.
Movement for Family Power, Washington, D.C.
Movement of Immigrant Leaders in Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA
New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
NHCUCC Immigrant and Refugee Support Group, Pembroke, NH
NorCal Resist, CA
Ohio Immigrant Alliance, Cleveland, OH
Optimist, Los Angeles, CA
Orange County Equality Coalition, Irvine, CA
Orange County Justice Fund, Orange County, CA
Peaceful Uprising, Salt Lake City, UT
Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition, PA
Pioneer Valley Workers Center, Northampton, MA
Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Plymouth Justice Network, Plymouth UCC, Milwaukee, WI
Puentes de Salud, Philadelphia, PA
Qualls Law, LLC, Gahanna, Ohio
RAICES, San Antonio, TX
Rape Recovery Center, Salt Lake City, UT
Refugee Services of Texas, Austin, TX
ResistanciaVA, VA
Rosa Belongs Here, Mancos, CO
Rust Temple, Easthampton, MA
Salt Lake City Sanctuary Network, Salt Lake City, UT
Salt Lake Indivisible, Salt Lake City, UT
Santos en Virginia, Richmond, VA
Santuario Film
Sawmill Herb Farm, Florence, MA
Shut Down Berks Coalition, PA
Sin Barreras / Without Barriers, Charlottesville, VA
South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society, Cottonwood Heights, UT
Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ, Framingham MA; Hartford, CT
St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America (IFCLA), St. Louis, MO
St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Denver, CO
Sugar Space LLC, Salt Lake City, UT
T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, National
Texas Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry, Austin, TX
The Real Cost of Prisons Project, Northampton, MA
The Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence, MA
Tikkun Olam Chavurah, Philadelphia, PA
Tikkun Olam Committee of the Jewish Community of Amherst, Amherst, MA
Transformations CDC, Cincinnati, OH
Traprock Center for Peace and Justice , Greenfield, MA
Understanding Us, Salt Lake City, UT
Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence, MA
Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson Social Justice Council, Tucson, AZ
Unitarian Universalist Community Church, Glen Allen, VA
Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry of California, Sacramento, CA
Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio, Worthington, OH
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Cambridge, MA
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, National
Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst, MA
University UMC, Austin, TX
Uplift Climate, Salt Lake City, UT
Utah Coalition of La Raza (UCLR), Salt Lake City, Utah
Utah Sierra Club, Salt Lake City, UT
Vermont Freedom Bail Fund, VT
VietLead, Philadelphia, PA
Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, Richmond, VA
Virginia Poor People's Campaign, Richmond, VA
Voices for Utah Children, Salt Lake City, UT
Vote Allies, CA
Washtenaw Congregational Sanctuary, Ann Arbor, MI
We Brave Women Lecture Series, Salt Lake City, UT
Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, Philadelphia, PA
Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, Charlottesville, VA
Western Mass Showing Up for Racial Justice, Northampton, MA
Winning Writers, Northampton, MA
Woodland Christian Church, Columbus, OH
Workers’ Dignity / Dignidad Obrera, Nashville, TN

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