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Local church declares itself "sanctuary" church

Posted at 12:18 PM, Feb 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-17 18:34:39-05

Following the arrest of dozens of suspected illegal aliens in Hamburg and Grand Island, faith leaders gathered at Pilgrim St. Luke's to declare it a sanctuary church.

Pastor Justo Gonzales with Pilgrim St. Luke's tells 7 Eyewitness News, given the current administration safe havens are necessary for those without status and living everyday in fear.

"We stand this morning on the side of Justice and stand with our immigrant communities," Gonzales said.

The declaration comes on the heels of the arrest of 23 suspected illegal aliens at a Hamburg 7-Eleven. Days later, nine people were arrested at a Grand Island Rite Aid.

At the declaration ceremony several local faith leaders called on Buffalo residents to support those in the immigrant and refugee communities.

Many also shared their stories of seeking refuge in the United States. 

7 Eyewitness New reporter Cierra Johnson spoke with those at the event and will have more on 7 Eyewitness News at 5 p.m.