Sanctuary: Angela Navarro Civil Disobedience

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“I’m taking Sanctuary for my own life, my family, and the entire immigrant community. I have lived in fear for over 10 years and I can’t continue living this way.”

– Angela Navarro

“President Obama: like millions of others, Angela lives in fear of her family being torn apart. As a father, I know you can relate.  As a practicing Christian, you are asked to ‘welcome the stranger.’  As the leader of our great country, I ask you to live out your faith, use the authority you have been given and stop all deportations.”

– Reverend Adan Mairena, Pastor of West Kensington Ministry

On November 18, 2014, Angela Navarro took Sanctuary by moving into member congregation West Kensington Ministry. Angela lived with a final deportation order for 10 years and did not leave church property until she stopped her final deportation order. On January 16, 2015 we learned the good news: our campaign was successful and Angela’s final deportation order was stopped!

Angela’s civil disobedience in Sanctuary was part of the national movement to push President Obama to take positive action on immigration after immigration reform failed to pass Congress. It was also a tactic to demand an immediate end to Obama’s mass deportations; he has deported over two million people during his presidency. It was this national movement that forced Obama to take Executive Action on immigration, though critical pieces of this action are still being litigated before the Supreme Court.

Angela is a Honduran-born mother of two U.S.-born children, spouse of a US citizen, a leader at her church, and has worked for years at a local restaurant. Angela was one of nine immigrants nation-wide with a final order of deportation to enter into Sanctuary in 2014 and the only on the East Coast.

This victory was possible because of months of organizing by hundreds of immigrants, allies, and people of faith from throughout Philadelphia and the country. Our core organizing committee on the Sanctuary campaign met weekly (and sometimes more!) to plan and implement strategy for the campaign. The committee consisted of Angela and her family, Fr. John Olenick (Visitation BVM Parish), Rev. Adan Mairena (West Kensington Ministry), Heather Bargeron (Tabernacle United Church), Joe Leonard (West Kensington Ministry/Central Baptist Church), Charlie Miller (Germantown Mennonite Church), and NSM organizer Nicole Kligerman. Through the civil disobedience of entering Sanctuary, Angela took critical leadership to fight for her fundamental right to remain with her family and demand that President Obama end all deportations.

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