What is the Judge Not Initiative? 

The Judge Not Initiative draws on the humanitarian tradition of houses of worship providing protection to those persecuted by unjust laws.  We advocate for faith leaders and members of their communities to continue their historical commitment to justice by pledging to offer refuge to those facing persecution under Donald Trump’s mass deportation plan.


A History of justice

Since their support for the Underground Railroad in the 1800’s, American houses of worship have long recognized that at times resistance to unjust laws is morally necessary. 

In the 1980’s, hundreds of thousands of people fled to the U.S. to escape persecution by military dictatorships in Central America.  But when they arrived here, they faced a federal government friendly with many of these same dictatorships and that resisted these immigrants’ legitimate asylum requests.  In response, over 500 houses of worship of every variety opened their doors to protect the asylum seekers in what became known as the Sanctuary Movement.  More recently, several houses of worship across the country have been participating in the New Sanctuary Movement, which offers shelter to undocumented immigrants who have productively integrated into our communities. 

The Judge Not Initiative continues this tradition of justice by advocating for houses of worship to protect people from Trump’s unjust mass deportation plan.

Why trump's plan is unconstitutional

Some argue that undocumented immigrants broke the law by entering the country illegally and should be punished by deportation.  But the law is not just a black and white statute.  The law also involves principles of equity and fairness. 

For decades, the U.S. government did nothing to fix its broken immigration system, and over that time millions of people entered our country without proper documentation.  But those millions of people were following in the tradition of countless others that came before them seeking a better and freer life, and over the years they have become members of our community and have made innumerable contributions to our nation.  Further, millions of undocumented immigrants were brought here as children and the U.S. is the only place they have ever known as home. 

Donald Trump’s mass deportation plan would uproot every undocumented person from our country, tearing apart families, removing children from their schools, and devastating local economies.  The uniform approach of Trump’s plan is inherently unjust and cannot be tolerated.

Trump’s mass deportation plan would also result in the American citizen children of undocumented immigrants being deported to a country they may have never known, effectively stripping them of their citizenship.



why a focus on houses of worship

It is the long-standing policy of the Department of Homeland Security to not conduct deportation raids in “sensitive areas,” which include houses of worship, schools, and hospitals.  First, there are logistical problems with organizing long-term protection at schools and hospitals.  Second, houses of worship have a long-standing history of providing this type of protection to individuals escaping the effects of unjust laws.