Sunday, June 24, 2007

Talk Shows Influence Immigration Debate

Talk Shows Influence Immigration Debate
NY TIMES: June 23, 2007, Filed at 10:20 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Immigration has supplanted Iraq as the leading issue on television and radio talk shows, complicating the prospects of a Senate bill desperately wanted by President Bush.

Conservative talk radio's impact on the immigration debate reached new heights last week, with one host effectively writing an amendment for when the Senate returns to the imperiled bill this week.

National talk show hosts have spent months denouncing the bill as providing amnesty for illegal immigrants. Some top Republicans who support the legislation have defied the broadcast pundits. Others GOP lawmakers have tried to placate them, even to the point of accepting their ideas for amendments.

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., the key conservative negotiator behind the compromise bill, told reporters Friday that California-based radio host Hugh Hewitt ''had several ideas'' that ''we are trying to include'' in amendments to be offered in an upcoming series of crucial votes.

Hewitt, a conservative who has criticized many aspects of the bill, had Kyl as a guest on Thursday and asked: ''Does the bill provide for any separate treatment of aliens, illegal aliens from countries of special concern?''

Kyl replied: ''It's going to, as a result of your lobbying efforts to me.''

People seeking entry the U.S. from countries that the U.S. has designated as state sponsors of terrorism will get a higher level of scrutiny, Kyl said Friday.

Other Bush allies have tried more confrontational approaches to the talk hosts, sometimes with bruising results.

Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., told reporters last week, ''Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem.'' Some hosts, he added, do not know what is in the lengthy bill.

The comments incensed conservative talk show hosts who generally had supported Lott over the years.

Lott is ''upset that the American people got right into the middle of the conversation over the problem with illegal aliens and it didn't turn out all that well for the pro-amnesty forces,'' Atlanta-based talk show host Neal Boortz wrote on his Web site.

''If Trent Lott and his other buddies up on the Hill aren't listening to 'talk,' then what are they listening to? The answer is either their wallet or their legacy.''

Radio host Rush Limbaugh asked his audience: ''What are we going to do about Mississippi Senator Trent Lott?''

Lott's treatment contrasted sharply with that given to Kyl. In a column posted on his Web site, Hewitt called Kyl ''perhaps the single most effective and principled conservative in the United States Senate.''

The immigration bill would tighten borders and workplace enforcement, create a guest worker program and provide ways to legal status for many of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S.

The legislation faces showdown votes this coming week that lawmakers on all sides agree will be close.

If the measure fails, talk radio and TV -- where CNN's Lou Dobbs has been especially critical -- will deserve substantial credit, academics and politicians say.

''Talk radio and talk TV are most effective when there's an immediate action pending,'' said Kathleen Hall Jamieson of the University of Pennsylvania, who is an authority on media and politics. ''It's a classic instance of mobilization with all the pieces in place and it's sure to have an effect.''

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., a leading opponent of the bill, said in an interview that ''talk radio has had a significant impact on this issue.''

A frequent guest of Dobbs, Hewitt and other conservative hosts discussing immigration, Sessions said, ''I think people have learned more from talk radio than from reading the newspapers.''

As for Lott, Sessions said: ''I can't imagine what Trent was thinking. Maybe his mouth was moving and his brain was in neutral.''

Michael Harrison, editor of the talk show industry magazine Talkers, said immigration has replaced the Iraq war as the most discussed topic and has led many conservative hosts to show more loyalty to the anti-amnesty issue than to the Republican Party.

''I think talk radio should be credited with possibly saving the American people from George Bush's immigration bill,'' Harrison said, adding that he and his magazine are nonpartisan.

Some Republicans who recently announced their opposition to the bill said constituent concerns were their main reason. But they acknowledged the intensity of talk radio hostility in their states.

''Neal Boortz, he popped us pretty good,'' said Lindsay Mabry, a spokeswoman for Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., who shifted from qualified support to opposition to the bill in recent days. She said Chambliss consulted with Boortz on immigration even though the senator was not an on-air guest during the debate.


On the Net:

Information on the bill, S. 1348, can be found at

Friday, June 22, 2007

Immigrations update-Senate debates again June 26th

IMMGRATION UPDATE: On Tuesday June 26th the Senate will vote to invoke cloture on a Motion to Proceed to consider S. 1639 the Immigration Reform Bill. If 60 senators vote to invoke cloture, the Senate will then begin debate on the bill.

If we move to the debate of the immigration reform bill, we will consider about 24 amendments, with up to 12 amendments from Democratic Senators and 12 amendments from Republican Senators. Below is a tentative list of the 24 amendments. Some of the language in the amendments may alter.

I will send updates as I receive more information. I hope you all have a great weekend and I will be in touch soon.

Democratic Amendments

* Dodd-Menendez S.A. 1199: would increase the annual cap on green cards for parents and extend the parent visitor visa.
* Webb S.A. 1313: Community ties for Z visas
* Baucus-Tester S.A. 1236: would strike all reference to REAL ID.
* Sanders-Grassley S.A. 1332: prohibits companies that have announced mass lay-offs from receiving any new visas, unless these companies could prove that overall employment at their companies would not be reduced by these lay-offs.
* Byrd-Gregg-Cochran S.A. 1344: adds a $500 fee to obtain immigration benefits under Title VI and sets aside the revenues collected in order to fund border and interior enforcement.
* Menendez-Obama-Feingold S.A. 1317: increases family points in merit system
* Brown S.A. 1340: requires that before employers can be approved to employ Y-1 workers, they must have listed the specific job opportunity with the state employment service agency.
* McCaskill S.A. 1468: increases ban on federal contracts, grants or cooperative agreements to employers who are repeat violators of hiring immigrants who are not authorized to work
* Levin-Brownback S.A.1486: gives access to Iraqis to apply for refugee status under existing U.S. law.
* Leahy S.A. 1386: protect scholars who have been persecuted in their home countries on account of their beliefs, scholarship, or identity.
* Schumer: provides for tamper-proof biometric social security cards
* Boxer S.A. 1198: reduces Y visa cap by number of Y workers who overstay

Republican Amendments

* Alexander S.A. 1161: requires DHS and the Department of State to notify a foreign embassy when one of their nationals has become a U.S. citizen
* Bond S.A. 1255: prohibits green cards for Z holders
* Coleman S.A. 1473: outlaws state and local policies that prevent public officials — including police and health and safety workers (except for emergency medical assistance)—from inquiring about the immigration status of those they serve if there is “probable cause” to believe the individual being questioned is undocumented.
* Domenici S.A. 1335/1258: increases Federal judgeships
* Ensign S.A. 1490: redetermines work history for current beneficiaries of social security depending on their citizenship status
* Graham S.A. 1465: enforcement. Still being drafted.
* Grassley-Baucus-Obama S.A. 1441: strikes and replaces Title III on employer enforcement
* Hutchinson S.A. 1440: changes the “touchback” requirement from the time of applying for adjustment of status, as it currently stands in the Senate proposed bill, to the time of applying for the Z visa. Increases the number of individuals required to touchback
* Thune S.A. 1174: prevents undocumented immigrants in the U.S. from getting any kind of legal status until all triggers have been met.
* Chambliss S.A. 1318: Totalization agreements
* Isakson S.A. 1282: Preemption/Home Depot
* Graham: Criminal penalties/mandatory minimums for overstays

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Who Killed the Immigration Bill, and Who Wants it to Come Back?

By David Bacon
Oakland, CA 6/9/07

Within hours of the Senate vote to kill its comprehensive immigration
reform bill, the lobbyist for software giant Oracle Corp. had already
declared that Silicon Valley's proposal for more guest workers was
still alive. "We don't think it's dead," Robert Hoffman told the San
Francisco Chronicle. Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer threatened to
move more high tech jobs out of the country if electronics
corporations didn't get more contract migrant labor. Other corporate
spokespeople also announced they were looking for ways to revive the
Senate bill in which they'd invested so much political capital.

Immigrant communities and union activists had been in the streets for
months, trying to stop the same bill. In San Francisco alone, seven
were arrested in the office of Senator Diane Feinstein, during the
recess that preceded the June 7 vote. Dozens more debated the
senator in front of her home the morning after the arrests. Around
the country, similar demonstrations did what they could to kill the
bill. The National Day Labor Organizing Network called it a "cynical
and mean-spirited effort of those Senators that seek to poison the
immigration reform debate yet again," and warned, "we are fearful
that an insufficient Senate bill cannot be adequately repaired in the
House of Representatives or in a conference session."

It was no surprise that many greeted the (perhaps temporary) death of
comprehensive immigration reform as a necessary move to protect
immigrants themselves. These groups saw in the bill a threat of more
contract labor programs, more enforcement and raids, greater
militarization of the border and erosion of basic due process rights.
Filipinos for Affirmative Action, voicing a criticism common in Asian
American and Latino communities, said the bill "moved away from
permanent, family-based immigration toward a temporary employment

As debate in the Senate proceeded, even the bill's promise of
legalization for the nation's 12 million undocumented residents
proved so restrictive that only a small percentage eventually would
have qualified. Migrants without status would have had to place
their families in jeopardy just to apply.

After the vote in the Senate defeating cloture, killing the bill at
least for the moment, John Sweeney, head of the AFL-CIO, declared it
"plagued by anti-family, anti-worker provisions," and called it "
doomed at the onset. The bill abandoned long-standing U.S. policy
favoring the reunification of families and failed to protect workers'
most basic rights."

Despite the fact that the bill was brokered by the Bush
administration, many of its proponents were not Republicans, but
liberal Democrats, most prominently Senator Edward Kennedy.
Supporting it was a network of lobbyists referred to in the press as
"immigration advocates," large employers, and conservative think
tanks. For two years this alliance advocated a strategy of trading
legalization of undocumented immigrants for increased immigration
enforcement and guest worker programs. The National Immigration
Forum and the DC umbrella group it initiated, the Coalition for
Comprehensive Immigration Reform, were key players in this strategy.
Behind them was the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition, which
brought together over 40 of the largest corporate trade and
manufacturing associations in the country, under the aegis of the
U.S. Chamber of Commerce. EWIC head John Gay, also head of the
National Restaurant Association, chairs the NIF board.

These Washington groups supported all the compromise bills embodying
the legalization/enforcement/guest worker tradeoff, beginning with
the original Kennedy/McCain bill in 2005. The same argument was used
to justify them all: "It's not possible to get legalization without
including more enforcement and guest worker programs." While the
groups occasionally disagreed with individual provisions of the
proposals that followed, they not only agreed with the basic
structure and architecture of these bills, but became their ardent
advocates in meetings around the country.

As the proposals moved through negotiations with the administration
and Congressional Republicans, legalization schemes became more
restrictive, enforcement provisions more ferocious, and contract
labor schemes more extensive. Yet the recently defeated Senate
compromise was greeted as a "good starting point." Even at the end,
the DC groups called on immigrant communities to urge defeat of "bad"
amendments to it, while continuing to urge Senators to support the
comprehensive immigration reform, or tradeoff, framework.

While Congress considered this series of proposals, the Bush
administration embarked on a series of highly publicized immigration
raids and workplace firings, to put pressure on immigrant communities
and unions to accept its reform program. The bills themselves called
for giving the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, part of
the Department of Homeland Security, more enforcement authority to
conduct these raids. The administration, for instance, proposed that
employers be required to fire any worker whose Social Security number
didn't match the agency's database. Although Bush never actually
issued this regulation, and the bills obviously hadn't passed, ICE
and employers began using it as the basis for enforcement actions.

Workers at the Woodfin Suites in Emeryville, California, were fired
after they tried to enforce the city's living wage ordinance. At the
Smithfield pork plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, hundreds were
fired, and many then deported, during the hardest-fought union
organizing drive in years. Similar raids and firings swept the
country, as the administration set ICE loose on immigrant
communities, implementing the very language in the comprehensive
reform bills. Beltway lobbying groups often expressed alarm over the
raids, but didn't withdraw their support for bills that would have
made such raids more widespread.

After coordinated raids at Swift meatpacking plants in November, in
which over a thousand workers were picked up for deportation,
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told reporters the
enforcement actions would show Congress the need for "stronger border
security, effective interior enforcement and a temporary-worker
program.'' Bush wants, he said, "a program that would allow
businesses that need foreign workers, because they can't otherwise
satisfy their labor needs, to be able to get those workers in a
regulated program." Within weeks of Chertoff's statement, the
Southern Poverty Law Center issued a report, "Close to Slavery,"
which provided exhaustive documentation that current guest worker
programs, like those the administration proposed, systematically
violated workers' rights. Abuse in H-2 programs was so extensive,
and government enforcement of existing labor protections so
completely absent, that SPLC called them "fundamentally flawed."

The SPLC and other exposes gave guest worker programs such a bad
reputation that DC-based groups took pains to disassociate themselves
from the term. The bills they supported would "break the mold," they
claimed, by creating contract labor programs that wouldn't exploit
workers. They invented new terms: "essential worker" or "new
worker" plans. Behind the semantic fog, however, the bills preserved
the two crucial characteristics of all employment-based guest worker
schemes: new migrants could only come if recruited by an employer or
labor contractor, and people had to remain employed to stay.
Migrants losing a job and unable to find another within a short time
would be deported.

To justify contract labor programs, the DC coalition asserted
constantly that U.S. corporations face dire labor shortages. The
Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, estimates the May, 2007
unemployment rate at 4.5%, and says over 7 million workers were
unemployed in 2006. Most unions believe these are serious
undercounts. Unemployment in African American and Chicano
communities is much higher, over double digits even during economic

Yet instead of raising wage and benefits to attract workers, or
paying more taxes to improve education and training in working class
communities, employers held that only huge guest worker programs
could meet their labor needs. In an joint oped piece for, Thomas Donahue, CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,
and Andy Stern, President of the Service Employees International
Union (one of two unions that supported the tradeoff bills) stated
that "we need legislation that will create a carefully monitored
essential worker program," and called it "a system that provides U.S.
businesses with the workers it needs."

Meanwhile, legalization proposals in the same tradeoff bills were
presented as the payoff for immigrant communities. Yet many of the
legalization schemes threatened to disqualify immigrants guilty of
document fraud. ICE now says this includes anyone who's given a
false SS number to get a job, something almost all undocumented
workers have done. Other proposals would have imposed employment
requirements, imposed high fines difficult for most working families
to pay, and required people to take an undetermined amount of time
off work to return to their home countries to apply for readmittance,
with no guarantee they could pass a host of bureaucratic checks.
Most proposals would have had people wait at least a decade before
they could get a green card for permanent legal residence (not
citizenship). Legalization programs wouldn't even take effect until
the U.S. gained "operational control" of the border, leaving the door
open for years of increased enforcement with no change at all in the
status of the undocumented.

Many organizations outside DC did not support this approach to
immigration reform. Instead they called for a positive agenda
focusing on human and workplace rights, legal status and equality.
They proposed reforms that didn't criminalize migration, work or the
border itself, and that instead protected families and communities.
The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights urged that "we
work for a different "starting point" for immigration reform that
protects the rights of all immigrant families, workers and

The beltway lobbying strategy started by asking what employers and a
Republican administration would be willing to accept. Groups like
NDLON, however, proposed building a popular movement to change the
political terrain in Washington, like the civil rights movement of
the 1960s. Responding to lobbyists who called the Senate bill the
only chance to reform immigration law for years, NDLON said "We know
the struggle for justice and immigration reform requires a long view
of history, and we will not be pressured into accepting an
insufficient compromise simply for sake of political expediency. We
owe it to this and future generations to pass a bill that we can all
be proud of."

"The best way to guarantee the rights and wages of all workers in
this country," added the AFL-CIO's John Sweeney, "is to give every
immigrant the opportunity to become a citizen, with all the rights
and duties that entails. At the same time, Congress must revise our
immigration system so that in the face of labor shortages, future
foreign workers may enter this country not as dispensable units of
production but as permanent residents with the same rights and
protections as all other U.S. workers."

Basic differences have divided the immigrant rights and labor
movements, not just over tactics and strategy, but also over goals.
Should immigrant rights groups and unions support increased
enforcement? Should they allow employers to recruit hundreds of
thousands of workers a year, on visas which condition their right to
stay in the US on continued employment? Should temporary or contract
labor programs be the condition under which the undocumented are
allowed to stay?

This division, between Washington-based organizations, and grassroots
coalitions outside the beltway, has existed for over a decade. In
1996 many community-based coalitions around the country withdrew from
the National Immigration Forum when it insisted it was not possible
to save the rights of undocumented immigrants in the Clinton-backed
immigration bill. The DC-based strategy tacitly called for saving
the rights of legal immigrants by telling Congress that while the
country needed to do something about illegal immigration, legal
residents shouldn't be punished in the same bill. The strategy
failed, and according to Filipinos for Affirmative Action, "the
Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act
undermined the basic rights of all immigrants, denied their right to
due process, and expanded the reasons for detention and deportation."
The starting point for immigration reform should be instead an
agreement that "all immigrants have a right to be treated equally,
with full legal, employment, human and civil rights."

Today's disagreements are similar. They are in part over strategy
and tactics, but also raise a deeper issue: Should U.S. immigration
policy become a labor supply system for corporations, or should it
support families and communities? In the mainstream press, this
question gets little coverage because the framework proposed in
Congress so heavily sets the media agenda. Anger over exclusion from
the debate provoked the Mexican American Political Association to
declare that "We are totally opposed to the off-handed declarations
made by compromising individual Latino television commentators or
organizations that advocate - NOTHING IS WORSE [than failure to pass
an immigration bill]. In fact, NOTHING WILL BE WORSE [than the
proposed Senate legislation] in terms of the millions of individuals
and families who will be criminalized in perpetuity."

Moving from an effort to defeat anti-immigrant legislation to an
agenda that can win more progressive reforms requires an open debate
over those disagreements. As Silicon Valley and other employer
groups move to bring the Senate bill back, that discussion is more
urgent than ever.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Now is the time

Justice for Immigrants ACTION ALERT

Contact your Senators

Return to Immigration Reform


On Thursday, June 7, the U.S. Senate failed to invoke cloture (close off debate) on S. 1348, the Senate compromise immigration reform bill, 45-50 (with 60 votes needed to achieve cloture). The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) asked Senators to vote NO on cloture. The Committee on Migration of the USCCB decided to take this position because on the night previous, Senators adopted an amendment to weaken the legalization program by removing confidentiality provisions and defeated an amendment which improved family reunification in the bill.

The removal of the confidentiality protection in the Z-visa legalization program means that applicants for the program are at risk of deportation if their application is denied, for whatever reason. The confidentiality protection ensures that an applicant to the program cannot be deported because of information given in their application regarding their immigration status. The Committee on Migration views this protection as essential to a workable program, because otherwise eligible participants will not come forward.

Another amendment, offered by Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), would have moved the backlog reduction date on family reunification up to January 1. 2007. This amendment was blocked by Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) on a budget point of order and Senator Kyl offered another amendment which, in the view of the USCCB, harms certain families.

For those Senators who opposed cloture, consistent with the USCCB position, it is important to note that USCCB still supports the bill moving forward, provided that the confidentiality provisions and family reunification areas are improved.

It is our view that the bill will come back to the Senate floor before July 4th and that we will have the opportunity to fix these two amendments.


Please contact your Senators today and even everyday now with the following message:

You may

call your Senators local or national office.

call the general number and ask for your senators office 202-224-3121.

send a message through our website at:

Thank you,

The Justice for Immigrants Campaign

Immigrants are not lawbreakers

Thanks: Elvira Arellano

Date: Jun 14, 2007 10:54 PM


Dear Mr. Dobbs,

You say we are lawbreakers, but I say we know what it means to live under the yoke of a broken law.

You say you want to live in a nation of laws but how much more do we who have suffered under this broken immigration law long to live in a place truly governed by laws. In fact it is only our obedience to God’s law, which is never broken, which sustains us and our families.

The President says we must pay fines and wait in line while those who have employed us for their profit and those who have lived off of our taxes and benefited from our labor owe nothing – and we are willing to accept this because we long for a nation that lives up to its promise, a nation where everyone is equal under the law.

The “Grand Compromise” is not amnesty for us but it is amnesty for those who have benefited from our labor and our taxes and our purchasing power. I notice for instance that you have not refused advertising from Menards and Comcast although millions of dollars from undocumented families are accepted in their stores.

Out of the darkness of this broken law and this broken system, we join with the great majority of people that want to live in the light of a nation restored to its promise

And yet you would keep us in the shadows and the whole nation in darkness. You spread hate and fear. You would close your doors to your neighbors, to those who pick and prepare and serve your food and replace the brotherhood of democracy with the poison of selfishness and racism.

Today we appeal to the nation to reject the poison of fear mongering and the deceitfulness of hate and division. We are in the labor pains of giving birth to something new and whole. Don’t let the enemies of love and of families abort this delivery. I am not a criminal. I am not a terrorist. I am a mother of a U.S. citizen child. He is not an anchor. He is a child of God and a U.S. citizen.

Let us fix the broken law and be again a nation of laws.

Let us turn our ears away from the darkness of division and walk in the light of reconciliation while our moment is here.


Elvira Arellano

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

A mother's plight revives the sanctuary movement

This is a really great article from the LA Times about the new sanctuary movement. Check it out.

Refusing to leave her U.S.-born son, an illegal immigrant from Mexico takes refuge in a Chicago church and leads a new crusade.
By Louis Sahagun, Times Staff Writer
June 2, 2007

Sanctuary, in antiquity the practice of providing refuge in a sacred place, has been revived in a rather dramatic fashion by an undocumented Mexican cleaning woman trying to evade deportation by holing up in a Chicago church.

Elvira Arellano, 32, said she invoked the ancient right of sanctuary in a desperate effort to avoid being separated from her 7-year-old son, Saul, an American citizen.

That was nine months and 18 days ago. Since then, her act of civil disobedience has helped spark a new sanctuary movement and transformed her into a leader in the effort to create a path to citizenship for the nation's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants.

Exactly how Arellano's case will end remains to be seen. In the meantime, her maneuver has focused renewed attention on a concept used through the ages to hold back the force of government.

In a telephone interview, Arellano said in Spanish, "I never planned for this.

"When the order for deportation came down, I was desperate," she said, "I remembered how Joseph and Mary were given sanctuary. I asked my church for sanctuary, and they agreed."

Arellano became a focus of international attention when, from the safe haven of the little church, she began dispatching high-profile rebukes of immigration authorities.

One of her first letters posted on the Internet said, "If Homeland Security chooses to send its agents on the Holy Ground to arrest me, then I will know that God wants me to be an example of the hatred and hypocrisy of the current policy of the government."

Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities issued a brief comment: "ICE has the authority to arrest illegal aliens in all locales and prioritizes its enforcement efforts based on investigative leads and intelligence."

In the distant past, the practice of religious sanctuary was common throughout the world.

In antiquity, cities and surrounding territories were dotted with religious sanctuaries surrounded by walls or border stones separating the abode of the divine from the world of human struggle, the sacred from the profane, the holy space within from the reach of local laws.

Fugitives of every stripe found refuge in certain sacred shrines of the Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans. Ancient Hebrews had "cities of refuge" described in the Bible's books of Numbers and Deuteronomy.

Numbers 35:9 through 11 of the King James Bible reads, in part: "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come over Jordan into the land of Canaan, then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you."

These cities essentially were a way to prevent vigilante action against someone who had accidentally killed another person. But the refuge wasn't indefinite. The refugee was allowed to stay until he could face proper judgment by the community.

In the 4th century, Christian churches in Europe were considered sanctuaries. The practice continued through the Middle Ages as a check on vengeance during a time of social tumult.

"Around the 10th century, Catholic bishops instituted 'The Truce of God' as part of an effort to put a damper on the violence that was tearing society apart," said Daniel McGuire, professor of theology at Marquette University in Milwaukee. "The idea was that you could go into a church and be safe from the killing going on all over the place."

Felons who sought sanctuary in 13th century England could stay up to 40 days or, before that deadline, agree to leave the kingdom. If they stayed beyond 40 days, they risked being forced out of sanctuary by starvation.

In the 15th century, several parliamentary petitions sought to restrict the right of sanctuary in England. In the next century, King Henry VIII reduced the number of sanctuaries by about half.

Starting around 1750, various countries began abolishing sanctuary as civil judicial systems arose to try those accused of crimes. It took about 100 years for sanctuary to disappear.

Today, the right of sanctuary has no legal standing in the United States. Nonetheless, it was invoked in the early 1980s to prevent thousands of Central American refugees from being deported. Supporters believed federal officers were less likely to barge into a church and drag out undocumented people than to enter a home or a workplace.