Churches are becoming safe havens for undocumented immigrants

Some churches are reportedly becoming a haven for undocumented immigrants amid President Trump's promise to increase deportations, reports BuzzFeed News.

It is called the sanctuary movement where faith-based organizations voluntarily help to protect those vulnerable to deportation -- and some are calling it the next underground railroad, a comparison to the secret network that helped slaves escape in the early 19th century.

Mother Jones reports that some immigrants have been allowed to relocate into actual church buildings.

According to the media outlet, "ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] has a longstanding policy to not enter churches and schools."

Meanwhile, religious groups elsewhere have allegedly helped to hide people across a network of safe places while others are developing rapid response plans in case of an ICE raid.

As Charles Haynes with the Newseum Institute's Religious Freedom Center has said, "[These churches] feel that the highest authority in their lives is not the state; it's not the ICE. It's their conscience, their God."

Not all houses of worship are on board, however, citing concerns about defying the federal government, violating church zoning laws, and protecting people with possible criminal histories, among other issues, notes The Tennessean.

Nevertheless, the number of congregations who have pledged to join the sanctuary movement has reportedly surged to more than 700 since Trump was elected.