The New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City (NSC) is an open-borders arm of the Marxist New Sanctuary Movement and operates at the congregational, grass-roots level to promote “social and economic justice.” Advocating “civil disobedience” and “resistance,” NSC claims that “unjust global and systemic economic relationships and racism form the basis of the injustices that affect immigrants.”
In 2007, Father Juan Carlos Ruiz, the founding director of Asociación Tepeyac and the deputy director of Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, joined with Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper, senior minister of Judson Memorial Church in New York City, and Angad Bhalla, a filmmaker and community activist, to found NSC. Like its parent organization, NSC offers various anti-deportation resources to illegal immigrants and uses various immigrant families, members of which face deportation, to galvanize support against current immigration laws.
NSC gained national attention in December 2009, when it began its campaign to free Jean Montrevil -- a Haitian immigrant, ex-felon, and member of NSC who was detained under a deportation order. NSC received the endorsement of more than 100 organizations for its efforts to free Montrevil. In January 2010, NSC staged a number of rallies for Montrevil, arguing that the immigration laws enacted in 1996 were unjust, punitive measures that destroyed families. “Why are we sentencing his kids to not having a father?” Angad Bhalla, the co-founding director of NSC, declared in front of the Varick Street detention center. Later that month, Montrevil was released.
Besides these prominent rallies, NSC has organized two significant campaigns:
1) Along with Families for Freedom, NSC supports the Child Citizen Protection Act, HR 182, which was originally introduced in 2006 by pro-Castro Congressman Jose Serrano. This legislation would stop the deportation of any illegal immigrant whose children were born in the United States.
2) In partnership with Make the Road NY and the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, NSC launched the “Immigration Out of Rikers” campaign, condemning the presence of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at Rikers prison. “The whole way ICE functions goes against all our conceptions of human rights,” Angad Bhalla stated. “First and foremost family unity is a human right that ICE does not respect by enforcing deportation orders that tear apart families.” Bhalla also criticized ICE’s attack on the presumption of innocence: “The way ICE works, you are presumed guilty.”
NSC has also worked in collaboration with the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Friends Service Committee, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the New York Immigration Coalition, the Immigrant Defense Project, the Legal Aid Society, and Make the Road New York. In February 2010, the above groups authored a statement to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to demand the release of detainees currently held at Varick Federal Detention Facility: “Detention—whether here or in New Jersey or elsewhere—is a deprivation of liberty for our community members that negatively impacts their families and comes at great financial expense to taxpayers.”
In April 2010, NSC condemned Arizona’s SB 1070, a law targeting illegal aliens, and posted a prayer on its website likening the law to the policies of Nazi Germany: “Keep us from the silence that allows hate to fester. Don’t let us become like the Germans of the last century who didn’t see or hear what was happening.” In May 2010, Carlos Ruiz promised “resistance” against the law: “Anything that belittles or debases the human person is an offense and an insult against our God and must be resisted with all the resources of our faith traditions that call us to build a world of compassion, justice and peace.”