Immigration advocates set to host training on how to protect undocumented people

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jul 6, 2017 9:49 AM

(Harrisburg) -- Faith leaders in one midstate community are preparing to learn how to shield undocumented immigrants from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The immigration advocacy group Citizens' Immigration and Refugee Action Committee will host training on the sanctuary movement this Saturday in Lancaster.

Sessions will focus on helping undocumented immigrants, from accompanying them on trips in public, to perhaps providing actual sanctuary in a church.

About 50 people are expected to attend, while a group from Philadelphia will lead the training.

The committee's Meg Macfarlane says they want undocumented people to feel welcome.

"Part of it is safety, to make people feel more comfortable. There is a lot of fear. I mean there's a lot of fear. They are scared. People are scared to go to the doctors, they're scared to go out of their house," says Macfarlane.

Macfarlane says President Donald Trump's election prompted the training.

She adds that people who were brought here illegally as children have been especially nervous since Trump took office.

"We have a large DREAMer population who has been harassed. It's not just something that people talk about. It's not something that's happening somewhere else, it's something that's happening right here," she says.

The sanctuary movement has faced a lot of criticism from Republicans, like Pennsylvania US Senator Pat Toomey, who argues it protects undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes from deportation.

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