‘No document defines anyone’s humanity’: San Mateo church offers safety to undocumented immigrants

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SAN MATEO (KRON) — While we have not heard of any ICE raids reported yet in San Francisco, many large groups and organizations are taking action to protect undocumented immigrants.

There are also local sanctuary churches in the Bay Area that are offering safety to migrant families.

The congregational church of San Mateo says its stepping up for those most vulnerable in the community right now.

“We are an immigrant welcoming congregation,” Reverend Penny Nixon said. “This is a safe place to land. This is a place of refuge and you know one thing we say here is no document defines anyone’s humanity. So to be a sanctuary church in this time, in this moment it may be more important than ever.”

News of planned ICE raids on Sunday threaten nearly two-thousand migrant families across the country in nine cities, including San Francisco.

It’s part of President Trump’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants, focusing on those who already received court orders to be deported.

Through its sanctuary status, the congregational church of San Mateo says it hopes to help families in need.

“We’re one of the main ones in the area that actually have physical sanctuary,” Nixon said. “A lot of congregations have voted to become accompaniment sanctuaries so they do different things and provide different services but here at the congregation church of San Mateo and the Unitarian Church just around the corner they’re also a physical sanctuary.”

In addition to support from the church, Reverend Jorge Bautista said the church is with the people.

“We are here for you and we will stand with you,” Bautista said. “We’ll walk with you.”

Bautista and Nixon said it’s important to know your rights and resources.

“If somebody’s afraid, call the rapid response line and people will come in the area and be in solidarity with you,” Nixon said.

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