Sanctuary WNC


CIMA connects, strengthens and organizes communities to take action for immigrants rights in Western North Carolina. CIMA strives for inclusive communities with justice, freedom, and equality for all.

Hence, at its heart, WNC Sanctuary Movement is an extension of this mission. Sanctuary, as defined by CIMA, is a space for refuge for all targeted communities such as black and brown bodies, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, the Latinx community, etc. We are committed to weaving an intersectionality of protection, active resistance, education, resilience, resources, healing, critical thinking, contemplative action and transformation.

As a Latinx led organization, our efforts have focused on resisting oppression and mobilizing for a “positive place” for targeted and Latinx communities, one in which families can live their lives without fear of sudden detainment or deportation. We understand that our work in protecting the Latinx community does not occur in isolation, but rather within a larger systemic and historical context of oppression, racism, direct and indirect violence, ransacking our communities for profit, criminalization, dehumanization and the over policing of communities of color. The framework of our work is that of solidarity.

The WNC Sanctuary Movement is comprised of a multi-faceted coalition of community and faith leaders within and without the Latinx community, as well as over 500 allied members.


Verification/Hotline: To report license checkpoints, raids, or ICE activity that may be happening in our community to a hotline hosted by CIMA. This group of verifiers are training up so we can successfully confirm or deny these reports, send out an alert to the community as a warning, and be prepared as rapid response to those who are caught up in the criminalization system and keep them out of jails/prisons and away from ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

Congregational: To help educate and support faith communities who are discerning how to provide sanctuary or related assistance to those who seek it.

Support and Healing: To explore what people and families in targeted groups need for ongoing support and healing as we live in this climate of oppression.  And to put together a response team to support those who are experiencing particular crises related to being targeted (immediate needs, rides, connected to services, child care). To create an infrastructure for healing and support, and determine how to support/protect folks during ICE check-ins since they’re now occasionally being used for immediate deportations.

Legal Support: To develop a list of attorneys and other immigration legal resources in WNC, to determine useful emergency planning documents (e.g., contact info, wishes, power of attorneys for care for underage children and financial assets) for individuals who might be detained or deported. Interview attorneys on experience and accountability; invite them to create a cohort. Develop advocacy trainings to learn legal system, be present during lawyer consultations and be able to legally represent ourselves/each other. Determine legal resources for providing sanctuary.

Sanctuary Fund: To raise funds for legal expenses that undocumented immigrants facing legal actions may require and raise funds for expenses associated with ensuring sanctuary; to determine basic policies for how funds will be distributed. To create ongoing strategies for raising sanctuary funds.

Advocacy: To respond to public policy issues at the local, state, and federal levels that are eroding a culture of sanctuary, including, criminalizing our communities and targeting individuals for incarceration, detention, and/or deportation. Putting pressure on (and when appropriate supporting if they’re feeling pressure from ICE) current and potential local elected officials, to analyze their criminalization plan and hold them accountable. Documenting cases or reports to build a campaign.


Our community has come together to support the immigrant community in tremendous ways in the last months. Hundreds of people have come out to support press conferences and vigils, gathered resources and provided direct support to families. We raised over $60,000 in a week, which was amazing and- unfortunately is barely making a dent in the financial burden of the families impacted by the raids.

We are in the process of dispersing nearly all of the money raised, sending $2,000 to each of the 28 detainees to support them and their families. From losing their main source of income to expensive legal fees, these families need your support. Donate to the WNC Sanctuary Movement Fund. 

We are asking the community to step up in two ways. Here’a the plan:

  • Be a Padrino and Sponsor a Detainee: Connecting faith communities or other organized groups to become Padrinos (‘God Parents’) of individual detainees helps to meet the unique needs of each family and build relationships that journey together through the needs of the detainee and their family.
  • Bond Fund: Raising funds that can be used by detainees to get out of detention and back with their family while they fight their case. Once their case concludes, the money goes back into the fund for someone else. This is a long term solution to a an immediate need, to help detainees fight their cases from the outside. This fund will be an ongoing resource to the community in the future. Donate to the Bond Fund.
  • Transportation and Volunteer aid: We need to expand our capacity to meet the needs of our community and the affected families. If you would like to support the Sanctuary Movement with your time and skills, please fill out the forms in these links accordingly: