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Reverend John Fife: A Call for Sanctuary

Reverend John Fife is one of many Americans outraged at U.S. foreign policy toward Latin America during the 1980s. The government welcomed refugees from Eastern Europe but rejected as illegal aliens those fleeing the death squads of El Salvador and Guatemala. Fife, the pastor of an Arizona Presbyterian church, put his sermons into practice: He and his congregation joined a network of churches and people who provided safe haven to Latin American refugees. Though he knew the U.S. government wanted to end the practice, Fife didn't expect government agents to go so far as to infiltrate his church to gather evidence on Americans working on the cause.

My Story

Fleeing Death Squads. There was always in United States refugee policy, a politicized difference ... (1:05)
The Sanctuary Movement. I was the pastor of a church and as such I had the responsibility to tell ... (0:57)
Government Spies in the Church. The whole time that we were involved in the sanctuary movement we anticipated ... (0:48)
A Lesson from the Holocaust. When I was a theological student in seminary in Pittsburgh ... (1:06)


Facing the Government. Realizing that the surveillance and targeting they had experienced was an infringement on their rights under the Constitution, Fred Korematsu, Vincent Hallinan, Abdeen Jabara, John Fife and George Christian challenged the United States Government. In doing so they incurred the government's wrath and power to intimidate.