Immigrants seek asylum at North Phoenix church

PHOENIX (KSAZ) - The process of releasing hundreds of immigrants seeking asylum in the United States has begun, and many of them are waking up this morning in the Valley.

Many of these immigrants are seeking sanctuary at Shadow Rock United Church of Christ in Phoenix. About 100 asylum seekers were dropped off at the church late Monday night. They are families mostly from Central America who surrendered themselves at the Arizona border.

Abeth Spencer with the Church said they have all been processed, and then released by ICE.

"They've been released to connect with family they have in the country, and when they arrive with that family, they will reconnect with immigration authorities in that area. They have bus tickets," said Spencer, who went on to say the Church has been heartened by the many volunteers who have shown up to help with the families. They are, however, disheartened by the negative comments and pushback some have directed at the church for housing the immigrant families, some of which were posted on FOX 10 Phoenix's Facebook page.

Spencer said the Church is well aware of the criticism, but will stick to its core values.

"When you see a neighbor who needs a place to sleep, you offer them a bed," Spencer said. "If you neighbor needs a coat, you give them a coat. It's pretty simple to us."

Spencer expects most of the families will move on, in the next 24 hours.