Churches are becoming safe havens for undocumented immigrants

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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.

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Day Without Immigrants boycott 2017
Demonstrators march during the "Day Without Immigrants" protest in Washington, DC, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A restaurant worker photographs passing demonstrators as they march during the "Day Without Immigrants" protest in Washington, DC, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Signs are posted for customers of Blue Ribbon, a restaurant, stating that they are closed in solidarity with "A Day Without Immigrants" protests in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A restaurant on Georgia Avenue is closed in honor of the "Day Without Immigrants" protest in Washington, D.C., U.S. February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
A sign in the window of Ted's Bulletin Restaurant on 14th St proclaims it closed in honor of the "Day Without Immigrants" protest in Washington, D.C., U.S. February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 16: A Vietnamese cafe and a dry cleaning business stand closed in solidarity with the 'A Day Without Immigrants' boycott/strike, February 16, 2017 in New York City. Across the country hundreds of restaurants and eateries are closing for the day to protest President Trump's immigration agenda and to highlight the contributions of immigrants to U.S. business and life. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - FEBRUARY 16: Protesters march in the streets outside the Texas State Capital on 'A Day Without Immigrants' February 16, 2017 in Austin, Texas. The crowd, which grew to well over a thousand participants, marched from the Austin City Hall to the Texas State Capital. Across the country hundreds of restaurants and eateries are closing for the day to protest President Trump's immigration policies and to highlight the contributions of immigrants to U.S. business and life. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 16: A business is closed as Latino immigrants across Philadelphia skip work on Thursday as part of a 'Day Without Immigrants' campaign on February 16, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Many businesses are closed in hope of showing their economic power and protesting Donald Trump's immigration policies. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 16: An exterior view of Morning Glory Diner February 16, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. With the support of the owner, the majority of the staff, which is Latino, did not come to work as part of a 'Day Without Immigrants' campaign which is aimed at showing their economic power and protesting Donald Trump's immigration policies. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 16: A sign in the window of the popular Brooklyn restaurant Prime Meats explains their solidarity with the 'A Day Without Immigrants,' boycott/strike on February 16, 2017 in New York, United States. Across the country hundreds of restaurants and eateries are closing for the day to protest President Trump's immigration agenda and to highlight the contributions of immigrants to U.S. business and life. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 16: Morning Glory Diner sits empty February 16, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. With the support of the owner, the majority of the staff, which is Latino, did not come to work as part of a 'Day Without Immigrants' campaign which is aimed at showing their economic power and protesting Donald Trump's immigration policies. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
A sign posted for customers hangs on the window of Blue Ribbon, a restaurant, stating that they are closed in solidarity with "A Day Without Immigrants" protests in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
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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.

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