SANCTUARY: A Story of American Conscience and the Law in Collision by Ann Crittenden

SANCTUARY: A Story of American Conscience and the Law in Collision

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A journalistic account of the sanctuary movement to harbor refugees from Central American wars; by Crittenden, formerly a New York Times reporter and foreign correspondent for Newsweek, now director of the Fund for Investigative Journalism. Crittenden uses her training to dig deeply into the sanctuary movement--so called because the Immigration Service had pronounced that it would not enter churches to capture illegal aliens--which started small in the Tucson area before spreading nationwide. This is a more completely detailed account than the concurrent Convictions of the Heart (Davidson, reviewed below). Crittenden tries to put the smaller story into its larger perspective, giving a capsule account of the war in El Salvador and mini-biographies of major figures, such as Jim Corbett (the Quaker conscience of the movement), Rev. John Fife (the activist minister whose Tucson church became one of the primary ""safe houses""), Jesus Cruz (a slimy characher who was able to convince some sanctuary people to use his services as a ""border breaker,"" while in reality he was helping to build the government's case against the eventual sanctuary defendants), and Judge Earl Carroll (who presided over the 1986 trial of sanctuary leaders with a Judge Hoffman-like contempt for the defense). Crittenden bases her account on hundreds of interviews and documents to tell the tale of a well-intentioned people who wished only to help save terrified people from the clutches of terrorist death squads--but who ultimately fell victim to a larger American policy that found the refugees to be an embarrassment. An engrossing story of church vs. government, individual vs. the state, and conscience vs. the law, told with the hand-wringing enthusiasm of a talented investigative journalist.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1988
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson