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San Jose Catholic Churches May Serve As Sanctuaries For Immigrants Under Trump

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) -- We've learned Catholic churches in the Bay Area's biggest city may soon shield immigrants from deportation under the Donald Trump administration.

The Catholic Church in Santa Clara County is quietly lining up as many as 20 places of worship to act as potential safehouses for immigrants facing deportation under a Trump presidency.

Father Jon Pedigo of the Dioceses of San Jose said, "We are not looking to make a political statement on sanctuary or anything like that. It's basically providing refuge, support, stability and safety for a family in need."

The plan is part of a coordinated effort by churches, community organizations and local leaders in response to the election of Trump, who's advocated for an aggressive crackdown on illegal immigration.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo wants to relax some city regulations and make it easier for churches to provide sanctuary to immigrant families.

Liccardo said, "What we're trying to do is simply get out of the way for those service providers -- in this case churches and faith-based organizations -- that have traditionally provided sanctuary."

But Trump supporters say efforts to circumvent the law, and thwart the will of the new administration and the people who voted for it, are flat-out wrong.

Trump supporter Juan Hernandez said, "I don't think the San Jose mayor has the right to pick and choose which laws he wants to abide by and which ones he doesn't. Because, in essence, what that creates is divisiveness. Instead of trying to support the president and making sure America succeeds, it's being very divisive."

The city and county are both developing plans to protect immigrant communities, including increased access to information and legal aid, as they wait to see how much of Trump's campaign rhetoric becomes reality.

City Councilwoman Magdalena Carrasco said, "We don't know what he'll do because he has not been sworn in yet. All we know is what he's threatened."

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