DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - A father of five is putting U.S. immigration policy prohibiting arrests on church grounds to the test in Tucson, Arizona. The only loophole in the policy, is allowing an arrest based on an imminent threat.
Francisco Cordova hasn't stepped foot outside an Arizona church where he has sought refuge for more than a week. He's supported by religious leaders who are fed up waiting for immigration reform who are taking matters into their own hands.
Cordova is openly defying a deportation order to return to Mexico. He said his children are his motivation to stay.
"Maybe they are going to be something like me, just like a construction worker or something," he said. "And I don't want them to be like me, I want them to be something better."
Nationwide dozens of religious organizations have taken advantage of the policy; offering sanctuary to immigrants. Locally, the Coalition of Faiths is organizing the effort and actively seeking hosts in North Texas.
"If churches in Dallas start participating in this movement it will be a real proclamation of the Gospel," said Pastor Owen Ross.
Christ's Foundry United Methodist in Dallas isn't considered a host church since it lacks a shower. But Pastor Ross said he is prepared to provide temporary shelter in an emergency.
"To make sure families aren't being ripped apart… if there is a way to stop it," he said. But for now, immigrants such as Cordova are safe from arrest, protected by pastors willing to defy the law.
"We are called to obey God first before man's law, especially when man's law is unjust and cruel," said Ross.
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