Church in North Phoenix Offers Sanctuary for Immigrants

A church in North Phoenix is providing sanctuaries to undocumented immigrants facing deportation.

Shadow Rock United Church of Christ is currently home to two immigrants, Ishamael Delgado and Sixto Paz. Both men have been living in the United States longer than they lived in Mexico.

Delgado and Paz sought out sanctuary after being told they would have to return to Mexico, leaving their family and lives behind.

“I decided to seek sanctuary [be]cause I received a deportation letter… it was hard,” said Delgado.

After re-applying to stay in the United States, Paz said, “they sent me a letter to say ‘you have 90 days to go back to Mexico.'”

Shadow Rock has been an official sanctuary since 2014. “We didn’t feel it was or just, or reflected the best values of our nation and our faith to tear these families apart and deport them,” said Reverend Ken Heintzelman.

Heintzelman believes taking in people is an important part in their faith and in just 3 years they have had over 900 days where they housed immigrants in their sanctuary.

Paz and Delgado are hoping that the new administration will make the right choice in regards to immigration.

“We came over here to create a better life,” said Paz.

With current issues in the government, the Heitzelman is worried that the church may no longer be a safe place for Delagado and Paz.

“We are housing angels, I encourage anyone to come up here and get to know them,” said Heitzelman.

 

Author: Emily Richardson

Legal reporter for Cronkite News | Phoenix Native | Intern at AZFamily

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