What is Sanctuary?

The Sanctuary Movement in the U.S. bears deep religious and historical roots. From the earliest human civilizations to the present moment, the practice of sanctuary has been invoked time and time again to offer safety to those under threat. Sanctuary is, in one sense, universal in that people all across the globe have practiced sanctuary in one way or another. In another sense, it is also local and particular in that every instance of sanctuary seeking involves interwoven efforts of humanity. The resources on this website reflect upon the U.S. Sanctuary Movement from the 1980s to the mid 1990s, the New Sanctuary Movement of today, and adjacent forms of immigrant rights activism. 

Sanctuary is…

A place of refuge that protects one against the arrest, capture, or harm of opposing forces.
A term for describing a place of protection and refuge with significant historical and religious tradition that is supported by people with strong moral beliefs and humanitarian priorities as they relate to the concepts of hospitality.
The practice of providing refuge for people seeking protection from various forms of persecution, often administered by entities with religious, political, and/or altruistic motivations, with ancient cultural and religious roots.
Sanctuary is the perpetual practice of finding pockets of community, support, fugitivity, and protection in the face of a looming, unjust, and, ultimately, broken law enforcement system; it is rooted in global historical and religious traditions.
The ancient and sacred practice of offering safe haven to persecuted people.
Dorian (Obed)
Sanctuary is the practice of providing refuge to a persecuted individual or people, usually in a physical space with some significance (church). It has ancient roots, has been practiced in various cultures and societies over decades, and commonly has religious motivations.
Sanctuary means providing support (physically, mentally, emotionally), protection, community, and accompaniment for those who are struggling/persecuted, and challenging those structures that have caused suffering.
A tradition of providing safe haven for people, commonly migrants who have experienced violence and persecution in their home countries, when the government doesn't
Sanctuary: a physical location within which people may find peace and protection, and more specifically, sites where refugees are protected from agents of the state.
A place and movement that serves to protect undocumented immigrants from the violence of the state and provide aid until some form of safety is guaranteed/ promised for the asylum seeker.
Sanctuary is a safe harbor for those seeking protection from the surveillance or violence of the state. The sanctuary movement specifically serves to provide safe shelter for those who are facing unwarranted immigration control from ICE and DHS.
Sanctuary began as a religiopolitical practice of taking refuge with religious and historical examples dating as far back to ancient times. Since the 1980’s Sanctuary Movement, sanctuary has become a moniker, identity, and strategy connected to assisting undocumented immigrants.
Sanctuary is both an act of solidarity and an expression of love for those who need the most help; it is also the answer to a higher call asking to protect the vulnerable from injustices inflicted by great sources of power.
Sanctuary is a form of resistance to injustices done to our most vulnerable members of society. In its most radical form, it defies civil obedience by giving refuge. In all its forms, it attempts to seek community to convey justice.
Offering sanctuary means recognizing and assisting individuals and peoples persecuted. The act of offering sanctuary can extend beyond current borders and current legislation.
Sanctuary is a humanitarian, religious, and/or political act or moral stance that defies state notions of which individuals deserve protection and which don't.
Sanctuary is an act of defiant aid. It challenges hegemonic power and risks legal and physical harm to provide harbor from a society’s most vile urges. Rooted in centuries of religious and social precedent, sanctuary is a last line of protection for the subjugated.
Sanctuary first sought to harbor migrants, but holds roots in religious tradition and has broadened to encompass more nebulous forms of faith-based immigrant justice. Though sanctuary embodies many tactics and monikers, at the heart of the movement are calls for systemic change.
In a world of chaos, Sanctuary offers connotational hope of support, security, and refuge to individuals being oppressed for exercising their liberty to have a dynamic existence.
Sanctuary is the provision of a welcoming and safe haven often housed in a sacred space. Supported by legal and social precedence, sanctuary shelters refugees from persecution and prosecution. The sanctuary ethos extends to adjacent auxiliary movements that offer legal aid, food, medical care, and other humanitarian services to refugees.