The Religious Origins of the Sanctuary Movement
By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
Thanks to Donald Trump, the major media are being forced to cover the illegal immigration movement, such as the proliferation of “sanctuary cities” across the U.S. that attract criminal aliens, give them legal protection, and let them back out on the streets to commit more crimes. But the really taboo topic is how these sanctuary cities grew out of a movement started by the Catholic Church and other churches.
Over 200 cities, counties and states provide safe-haven to illegal aliens as sanctuary cities, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) reports. What has not yet been reported is that the Catholic Church, which gave President Obama his start in “community organizing” in Chicago, has been promoting the sanctuary movement for more than two decades.
What’s more, in April, a delegation of U.S. Catholic bishops staged a church service along the U.S.-Mexico border and distributed Communion through the border fence. At the same time, Pope Francis said a “racist and xenophobic” attitude was keeping immigrants out of the United States.
No wonder the pope’s approval ratings have been falling in the United States. Overall, Gallup reports that it’s now at 59 percent, down from 76 percent in early 2014. Among conservatives, it’s fallen from 72 percent approval to 45 percent (a drop of 27 points).
“Few people are aware that this extreme left branch of the Catholic Church played a large part in birthing the sanctuary movement,” says James Simpson, author of the new book, The Red-Green Axis: Refugees, Immigration and the Agenda to Erase America.
Simpson says Catholic Charities, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and its grant-making arm, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, are prominent elements of the open borders movement.
The sanctuary movement has its roots in the attempted communist takeover of Latin America.
With the support of elements of the Roman Catholic Church, the Communist Sandinistas had taken power in Nicaragua in 1979. At the time, communist terrorists known as the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) were threatening a violent takeover of neighboring El Salvador. President Ronald Reagan’s policies of overt and covert aid for the Nicaraguan freedom fighters, known as the Contras, forced the defeat of the Sandinistas, leaving the FMLN in disarray. In 1983, Reagan ordered the liberation of Grenada, an island in the Caribbean, from communist thugs.
Groups like the Marxist-oriented Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) were promoting the sanctuary movement for the purpose of facilitating the entry into the U.S. of illegal aliens who were supposedly being repressed by pro-American governments and movements in the region. The U.S. Catholic Bishops openly supported the sanctuary movement, even issuing a statement in 1985 denouncing the criminal indictments of those caught smuggling illegal aliens and violating the law. Section 274 of the Immigration and Nationality Act prohibits the transportation or harboring of illegal aliens.
Two Roman Catholic priests and three nuns were among those under indictment in one case on 71 counts of conspiracy to smuggle illegal aliens into the United States. One of the Catholic priests indicted in the scheme was Father Ramon Dagoberto Quinones, a Mexican citizen. He was among those convicted of conspiracy in the case.
Through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, an arm of the Bishops, the church has funded Casa de Maryland, an illegal alien support group which was behind the May 1, 2010, “May Day” rally in Washington, D.C. in favor of “immigrant rights.” Photographs taken by this writer showed Mexican immigrants wearing Che Guevara T-shirts, and Spanish-language communist books and literature being provided to rally participants.
An academic paper, “The Acme of the Catholic Left: Catholic Activists in the US Sanctuary Movement, 1982-1992,” states that lay Catholics and Catholic religious figures were “active participants” in the network protecting illegals. The paper said, “Near the peak of national participation in August 1988, of an estimated 464 sanctuaries around the country, 78 were Catholic communities—the largest number provided by any single denomination.”
A “New Sanctuary Movement” emerged in 2007, with goals similar to the old group. In May, the far-left Nation magazine ran a glowing profile of this new movement, saying it was “revived” by many of the same “communities of faith” and churches behind it in the 1980s.
One group that worked to find churches that would provide sanctuary to immigrants in fear of deportation is called Interfaith Worker Justice, led by Kim Bobo, who was quoted by PBS in 2007 as saying, “We believe what we are doing is really calling forth a higher law, which is really God’s law, of caring for the immigrant.”
But conservative Catholic Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute says Interfaith Worker Justice is run by “committed Marxist socialists,” and that Bobo is “highly active and involved with the Democratic Socialists of America,” a group which backed Obama’s political career.