City of Philadelphia vows to remain a sanctuary city

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia is pledging to remain a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants, despite President-elect Donald Trump's previous promise to cut federal funding to such cities.

The landmark Arch Street United Methodist Church, an activist church and a Center City landmark, has long helped the hungry and homeless.

Now, it is among the locations where immigrants can find sanctuary.

That includes Javier Flores, a 40-year-old father of three who has been fighting deportation after entering the United States illegally in 1997.

He fears Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, known by the acronym ICE, could be coming to get him any day, at any hour.

The election of Donald Trump as president makes him that much more nervous.

But this church, and dozens of other local congregations, are mounting a resistance.

"We opened our doors to Javier as a gesture of solidarity with him in seeking, to stay with his family," said the Rev. Robin Hynicka.

New resistance organizations are recruiting volunteers. The new sanctuary movement is setting up a hotline for notification, so they can wage civil obedience to try to block the deportation.

"We believe that when the laws of our faith do not match up with the laws of our state, and especially the policies that Trump's putting forward, our role is to close that gap," said Peter Pedemonti of the New Sanctuary Movement.

Lucy Marquez entered the U.S. from Mexico 15 years ago, and built a family long after her visa had expired.

"It would be extremely difficult for me to be separated from my daughters. They are the most valuable thing I have in this country," she said.

The coalition is set to announce its strategy on Tuesday.
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