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Portland Religious Organizations Join New Sanctuary Movement


Pastor Mike Knutson leads members of Portland's faith and immigration community against new Trump administration deportation efforts.

Pastor Mike Knutson leads members of Portland’s faith and immigration community against new Trump administration deportation efforts.

Kristian Foden-Vencil/OPB

Faith leaders and immigration groups came together in Portland Friday to oppose expanded deportations by the Trump administration. A growing number are offering sanctuary.

Nobody being deported by ICE is claiming sanctuary in Oregon or Washington right now.

But the Pastor of Augustana Lutheran Church in Portland, Erik Knutson, says since the election, the number of synagogues, churches and mosques offering sanctuary around the nation, has doubled — from 400 to 800.

“Two weeks ago we were in Bend,” he said. “Three hundred people came out in a snow storm from 15 churches and other communities to talk about sanctuary. It’s happening all over the state.”

The Trump administration has tried to allay fears over its new deportation directives, saying they’re not intended to produce what it describes as “mass deportations.”

But President Donald Trump has also called it a “military operation.” He has said they’re targeting “gang members,” “drug lords” and “really bad dudes.”

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