KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A church in Kalamazoo says it will offer sanctuary to a longtime member of the community facing deportation.
Leaders at the First Congregational Church of Kalamazoo announced Monday they would be protecting 62-year-old immigrant Saheeda Nadeem. She was born and grew up in Pakistan, then moved to Kuwait before eventually coming to the United States. She came here legally, but overstayed her visa.
A number of congregation members were at the event announcing the church's support for Nadeem.
"It shows what kind of city we are," Nathan Dannison, the church's senior minister, said. "We're a community that doesn't leave people behind. We're a church that won't let people be left behind. So we need her. That's why people came."
First Congregational voted unanimously last year to become a public sanctuary church. Along with about a dozen other churches in Kalamazoo and Calhoun counties, it promised to act as a safe haven for people concerned they may be at risk of deportation under the stricter immigration policies of President Donald Trump.
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