A gesture of reconciliation and a sigh of relief

Last May, Wesley James Queen left death threats on the voice mails of the Rev. Simón Bautista, the Episcopal Diocese of Washington's Canon for Latino Ministries and other leaders of CASA de Maryland, an immigrants rights group. Yesterday, at a crowded news conference, Queen embraced the people whom he had threatened and apologized.

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Immigration Reform: hopes and frustrations

The Catholic Review Online reports on the hopes and concerns of those working for immigration reform. In the wake of postponement of a meeting with the President, reformers are becoming frustrated.

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Immigration debates gets heated in Arizona Senate

Daniel Scarpinato in the Arizona Daily Star

A group of religious activists were told to leave the state Senate Tuesday after they sought to voice their opposition to a bill designed to get local law enforcement to act on federal immigration laws.

Now, the heated dust-up is underlining concerns about the Legislature rushing through dozens of bills in what may be the final days of its session and Democratic criticisms of the powerful GOP chairman of the Appropriations Committee.

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700 million people wish they lived someplace better

Even before the Haiti earthquake, the Gallup organization found that 700 million people, or about 16% of the worlds adults, desires to migrate to another country permanently if they had the chance.

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AZ churches unite in opposition to anti-immigration bill

The State of Arizona which already has some of the strictest anti-immigration laws in the nation is poised to pass new laws that will make anyone present in the state with out proper documentation guilty of trespassing. This effectively targets the children of immigrants who were brought into the country by their parents while seeking work. It would also mandate that local law officers enforce the law, removing any discretion on their part.

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Stations of the Cross on the border

As part of the Good Friday observances yesterday, the Diocese of Arizona and the Presbyterian Church in Arizona walked the stations of the cross along the border wall dividing the U.S. from Mexico:

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Tutu: "I do not disagree" with calls for Arizona boycott

In a TheCommunity.com essay on Arizona's new immigration law former Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks about parallels in apartheid South Africa. He also says " I do not disagree with the calls to boycott the businesses in the State until [the law] is turned around."

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Denominations choosing different strategies in Arizona

Every major Christian denomination in the State of Arizona has expressed deep concern regarding the new law enacted which makes it a state crime to be in the state without proper documentation. But while everyone agrees that the law is troubling because of fears of how it will be enforced, there are significant differences between denominations about how to proceed next.

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Serving a local Hmong crowd, translators serve the world

Holy Apostles Episcopal Church in St. Paul, Minn., is home to a congregation of Hmong - by now, second-generation American Hmong, who fled Communist takeover of the Kingdom of Laos in 1975.

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Houston clergy unite to support immigration reform

The New York Times features the Rev. John W. Bowie, an unlikely champion of immigration reform in its story about a hopeful event in the heart of Texas:

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Hundreds gather in Arizona to keep vigil against new law

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Phoenix AZ was the site a large inter-faith prayer service yesterday morning organized by religious leaders in the city opposed to the new law that would ramp up the pressure on undocumented people living in the state of Arizona.

Bishops of the Roman Catholic, Methodist and Episcopal Churches were all part of the service, as well as Evangelical, Pentecostal, Lutheran, UCC and Unitarian ministers. Two Muslim leaders and two rabbis took part as well.

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Bishops on the border

UPDATE again: Video message from Bishop Kirk Smith

UPDATE: list of Bishops attending below.

About 40 bishops and spouses are participating in the trip to the border of Mexico and Arizona before the House of Bishops meeting. They are going to learn more about the people and places affected by US immigration laws and the lack of a coherent policy to address the needs of workers and employers.

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Bishops on the border: what it means

The Rev. Paula Jackson commented on our first story about the House of Bishops visiting the border between Arizona and Mexico to find out more about the issue of immigration. Jackson relates the tragedy for families and the human side of the "issue":

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Texas bishops advocate 'Humane Immigration Reform'

Texas religious leaders representing several denominations led a conference of 400 persons on immigration reform and released a document called "Principles of Humane Immigration Reform."

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New Arizona Immigration enforcement puts health of community at risk

The new enforcement of laws in Arizona is having a number of unexpected consequences for the poor. It's become a critical issue for the indigents seeking medical care. Because a new bill before the Arizona legislature would require medical officials to report anyone they suspect of being here without documentation to State authorities, many people who need medical care are avoiding getting it.

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Mississippi Bishops oppose immigration bill

Emily Wagster Pettus, reporting for AP:

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Immigration update

Several stories in the news on immigration reform:
The New York Times reports that an immigration Judge in Newark blocked the deportation of the Venezuela husband of an American man following Atty General Eric Holder's intervention in the deportation of an Irish man.

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Immigration in US news roundup

Roundup of news about immigration and faith:

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World Refugee Day

Today is World Refugee Day. The United Nations calls the world to care for those displaced by war, poverty, famine, persecution, and violence:

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Alabama churches plan march against new Immigration law

Leaders of most of the major church groups in Alabama have united in opposition to the new Arizona inspired anti-immigration laws passed recently. While most of the denominational officials have issued statements, there's word today that some, including the Episcopal diocese have decided to take their message to the streets this weekend.

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Southern Baptists: let immigrants become legal

The Courier-Journal reports that the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Arizona adopted a resolution adopted a resolution calling for "governing authorities" to secure the U.S. border but also to provide a "a just and compassionate path to legal status, with appropriate restitutionary measures, for those undocumented immigrants already living in our country."

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More push-back from Episcopalians against Alabama's unjust immigration law

The Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, AKA "Arizona with a Twist," was recently signed by Gov. Robert Bentley. Its reach is extensive. For example,

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Bishop Philip Duncan on Alabama's anti-immigration law

The State Legislature in Alabama passed HB56 and it was signed into law in early June. It goes into effect on Sept. 1. This anti-immigration legislation has been described at the Arizona law (SB 1070) "on steroids".

Bishop Philip Duncan of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast issued this statement today:

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Bishop Parsley joins suit against Alabama immigration law

Episcopal News Service reports:

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+Parsley speaks out on Alabama immigration law

The Rt. Rev. Henry Parsley, Bishop of Alabama and former Chancellor of the University of the South, Sewanee, TN went on CNN today to explain why the churches are going to court over the new laws on immigration in Alabama:

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US will undertake case-by-case review of deportation cases

The Obama administration said yesterday that they will indefinitely delay deporting many illegal immigrants who don't have criminal records and will offer them a chance to apply for a work permit. Deportation efforts will instead focus on convicted criminals and those who might be a national security or public safety threat.

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Judge blocks Alabama immigration law

CNN reports:

A federal judge temporarily blocked enforcement of a tough immigration law in Alabama on Monday.

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UU president convicted for protesting AZ laws

Morales.jpgThe Seattle Post-Intellegencer reports that among those convicted of charges made during the protests of the new Arizona immigration laws is the Rev. Peter Morales, president of Unitarian Universalist Association (similar to TEC's Presiding Bishop):

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GOP debate generates no new ideas on immigration

Except for Newt Gingrich, who said there must be a more humane way of dealing with "illegal" immigrants, all the Republican candidates at the debate the other night offered only unworkable, expensive or down right silly ideas about solving what should be a simple issue. The Washington Post reports:

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Video: Alabama Bishops fight tough immigration law

Odyssey Networks released an exclusive story illuminating the issues from the perspectives of both the church and the state in their video "The Immigration Debate: Alabama Bishops Unite to Fight Tough New Law." One vision seeks to dissipate the fear of seeking spiritual and material support for the "least of these"; the other seeks to alleviate the fear of declining job prospects for the 10% of the state's population who are unemployed.

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Can religious leaders point the way in immigration debate?

Marcos Breton, writing in the The Sacramento Bee wonders if religious leaders can lead the way in finding answers for the immigration debates:

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Bishop Parsley: Alabama court ruling on immigration

The Rt. Rev. Henry Parsley, Bishop of Alabama, reflects on the latest court rulings on Alabama's "mean-spirited" anti-immigration laws:

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+Doyle of Texas joins prayer service for immigration reform

From the Episcopal Diocese of Texas:

Tuesday evening the Rt. Rev. Andy Doyle, Bishop of Texas, gathered with religious leaders from several different faiths for the Interfaith Prayer Service and Call to Action for Immigration Reform hosted by the Institute of Interfaith Dialog.

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Evangelicals on immigration reform

Given statements at many levels of the Episcopal Church calling for comprehensive immigration reform, and the recent actions of Episcopal bishops across the South, it looks like there may be a chance for some new allies coming from the Evangelicals in America.

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State of South Carolina moves against immigrants

In a familiar bit of news lately, South Carolina becomes the latest state to decide to enact harsh laws against undocumented immigrants. The Episcopal Church has spoken out in Arizona and in Alabama and is now moving to oppose the new rules in South Carolina.

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Bp. Parsley, other church leaders seek repeal of Alabama immigration law

The Rt. Rev. Henry Parsley and the Methodist and Roman Catholic bishops have written to the Governor of Alabama The Montgomery Advertiser imploring him to work for repeal of the current law on undocumented persons. Business leaders have also discovered the high economic price of the law.

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Arizona Accord on immigration: a ray of hope?

UPDATED: the economics of immigration and undocumented taxpayers Read Here

According to KPHO, CBS affiliate in Phoenix, business leaders have signed an "Arizona Accord" on immigration policy:

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It's just not right

Mother Jones assesses the draconian Alabama anti-immigration law and finds "It's just not right."

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Listening period for proposed immigration policy to keep families together

Dailybulletin.com reports on the 60-day public-comment period that began Monday for a proposed policy that would allow illegal immigrants who are immediate family members of U.S. citizens to remain with their families longer while applying for permanent residency.

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A dream of holy community

The Episcopal News Services reports a three day visit to the the U.S.-Mexico border between Arizona and Sonora by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

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Clergy among those trained to support
Maryland's "Dream Act"

Rachel Baye writes in The Washington Examiner:

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President Obama gives hope to immigrant youth

President Obama issued an Executive Order today giving hope to young people who were brought to the US as children. New York Times reports:

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Arizona bishop "guardedly pleased" with Supreme Court immigration ruling

Robert Barnes of The Washington Post writes:

The Supreme Court on Monday said states may play a limited role in enforcing laws on illegal immigration, upholding part of Arizona’s controversial law but striking other portions it said intruded on the federal government’s powers.

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Issues remain for deferred deportation program

Catholic News Service reports on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

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Lawyer launches immigration clinic at Illinois church

A priest in our parish recently helped a political refugee from Equatorial Guinea navigate the arduous road to U.S. citizenship, so I was inspired by this story of an attorney who is launching an immigration clinic at an Episcopal Church in Glen Ellyn, Ill. From the Chicago Tribune:

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Faith leaders speak out on immigration reform

UPDATE: President of the House of Deputies Gay Jennings has issued a letter asking Episcopalians to contact their Senators and Representatives about support for immigration reform. (see below)

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Lent changing in U.S.

The Deseret News notes changes in the celebration of Ash Wednesday and Lent in The Episcopal Church and other church that mark this season. Social activism, taking time for reflection and the influence of Latino/Latina cultures all contribute to the evolution of the church season:

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Church officials testify in support of immigration reform

Key representatives of the Episcopal Church testified today before the Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing today on immigration reform. Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations Director Alexander Baumgarten and Katie Conway, Immigration and Refugee Policy Analyst, submitted testimony to the committee, chaired by Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont. An excerpt from their testimony:

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6 in 10 Americans support path to citizenship

More than 6-in-10 (63 percent) Americans agree that immigrants currently living in the country illegally should be allowed to become citizens provided they meet certain requirements, according to a study by conducted by Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with The Brookings Institution.

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Walking for immigration reform

Annenburg TV News (ATVN) reports:

For the second consecutive year, Episcopalians from the Dioceses of Los Angeles and San Diego participated in "Called to the Wall," a one-day walk to the U.S.-Mexico border to demonstrate and stand in solidarity with immigrants.

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PB statement on comprehensive immigration reform

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori a statement today on the US Senate Introduction of Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

ENS:

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Alabama Bishops feel vindicated over immigration law

Greg Garrision reports in AL.com on the reactions of the three Bishops who opposed the Alabama legislation's law that outlawed contact with people living in the country illegally.

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86% of immigrants to the US are Christian

A new study by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life examines where immigrants to the United States come from and their religious affiliation.

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Immigration bill clears Senate committee

The Washington Post has published this Associated Press report:

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved far-reaching immigration legislation that gives a chance at citizenship to millions living in the country illegally.

The 13-5 vote clears the bill for a Senate debate expected to begin early next month.

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Immigration reform bill clears first hurdle

The Senate has voted to begin debate on a major immigration bill. USAToday reports:

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Why the Episcopal Church supports immigration bill

This week, the Senate will vote on S.744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. According to an alert released today by the Episcopal Public Policy Network: "Without these legislative changes our friends, family members and neighbors will continue to face separation from their families, unprecedented levels of detention and deportation, minimal due process protections or protections from unscrupulous employers, and they will be forced to remain in the shadows with no relief in sight.

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Senate passes sweeping immigration reform bill

From CNN:

The Senate gave final approval Thursday to a roughly 1,200-page bill that promises to overhaul U.S. immigration laws for the first time since 1986, creating a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented residents while ratcheting up security along the Mexican border.

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Presiding Bishops issue joint statement on immigration

In response to the United States Senate’s vote to pass S. 744, the Senate’s immigration reform legislation, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson have issued the following joint statement.

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Immigration reform: faith groups target House of Representatives

According to Religion Dispatches faith groups are preparing to advocate with the House of Representatives for the immigration reform bill recently passed by the Senate:

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'Nuns on the Bus' to push Congress on immigration reform

From Religion News Service:

The “Nuns on the Bus” are back from their 6,800-mile trek across the U.S., but their hardest job may be yet to come: convincing the Republican-led House to pass immigration reform.

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Rancher: life on his ranch on the US/Mexico border

Mary Anne Somerville writes in her "Epistle from the Desert" from Arizona:

This is an interview with John Ladd, a rancher in our area, who lives on the border line between Mexico and the United States. He is an honest man who strongly believes we are not doing the right thing with our Border Patrol. I have had personal conversations with him about this issue. His message has consistently been, "Put the Border Patrol on the border."

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British clergy condemn anti-immigration 'go-home' campaign

From Religion News Service:

Two leading clergymen — one Catholic, the other Anglican — condemned a British government billboard and stop-and-search campaign aimed at picking up illegal immigrants and deporting them.

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Idaho Episcopalians fasting and praying for immigration reform

The Rt Rev. Brian Thom and many in the the Diocese of Idaho are participating in fasting and praying for immigration justice . The Spokesman Review reports:

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Bp Susan Goff urges immigration reform

The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff, Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Virginia encourages the Diocese of Virginia and others to participate in the National Day of Dignity and Respect and to work for immigration reform:

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Faith leaders hit the Hill to lobby for immigration reform

More than 300 faith leaders from 39 states will be visiting members of Congress on Capitol Hill today to push for comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform. The group includes Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies.

Lynette Wilson of Episcopal News Service has the story:

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Americans favor "path to citizenship", some are fasting to show support

A consistent and solid majority of Americans — 63 percent — crossing party and religious lines favors legislation to create a pathway to citizenship for immigrants living in the United States illegally, while only 14 percent support legal residency with no option for citizenship, according a report published Monday by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute.

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Making those who are invisible visible

Artist Ramiro Gomez takes images of the good life, and then sketches in the invisible domestic workers who make the good life possible. Recently he spoke about his work with Kinsey Sullivan of Policy Mic.

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Bishop Lee, ecumenical partners urge Boehner to push immigration reform

Bishop Jeff Lee of Chicago is among a group of religious leaders who have called on Rep. John Boehner, Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives to stop "backpedalling" and bring a comprehensive immigration reform bill to a vote. In a statement published in the Chicago Sun Times, the group wrote, in part:

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What happens to those who are deported?

The Washington Office of the Episcopal Church reports on work to change the immigration and deportation practices of the U.S. What happens to those who are deported to Mexico?

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Church reviving sanctuary to protect undocumented

Buried in what the Eric Cantor defeat means for passing immigration reform are the growing numbers of children detained at the borders, along with one church's work to protect people.

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World Refugee Day is tomorrow

June 20 is World Refugee Day. Episcopal Migration Ministries is working to call attention to the plight of refugees through its #SharetheJourney selfie campaign on social media. You can read about their initiative in this release from the Episcopal Church's Office of Public affairs.

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Texas bishop on border crisis: 'Welcome the stranger'

The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, Bishop of Texas, writes:

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Turning back immigrant children: the shame of our era

President Obama has asked for $3.7 million to address the crisis on the Mexico-US border. From NBCNews:

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Jesus was a child who fled violence in his home country

In the midst of debate about immigrant children crossing the U.S. border from Central America, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings notes that "the baby Jesus survived Herod’s massacre because his parents took him across a border to a land where he was safe. Just like parents in Central America who are sending their children away, Mary and Joseph took great risks so their son could survive." She writes at Religion News Service:

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Almost half of Americans want to deport child refugees

Dara Lind at Vox has the story:

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Children have been coming to America alone since Ellis Island

Mother Jones offers some historical perspective on the issue of unaccompanied minors seeking refuge in the U.S.:

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Resurgence of the Sanctuary movement

The crisis on the southern border has spurred a resurgence of the Sanctuary Movement--where churches and other houses of worship offer shelter to undocumented immigrants.

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Sanctuary movement of the '80s springs to new life in Arizona

From the Arizona Republic:

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