Unitarian Society of Northampton providing sanctuary for Russian woman facing deportation

Hampshire County

A Russian woman seeking sanctuary in a Northampton church, is now the third undocumented immigrant receiving sanctuary in the Pioneer Valley. 

The Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence church has become the third house of worship in the Pioneer Valley to provide sanctuary to undocumented immigrants. The latest, Russian born Irida Kakhtiranova, arrived Friday night.  

Minister Janet Bush told 22News the church plans to protect Irida, while she fights her deportation. 

Irida Kakhtiranova lives in a small youth group room, that high school students nominated, when the church was presented with the question of providing sanctuary in December. 

Irida is married to a U.S. citizen and the mother of three children, all U.S. citizens. She’s been in this country since 2003. And latest of undocumented immigrants, receiving sanctuary in Springfield, Amherst and now Northampton. 

“I think its very admirable that the church would offer its services to help someone who is going thru the need especially with all the political issues that’s going on today,” said Catherine Pomeroy of Northampton.

President Trump signed an executive order to strip sanctuary cities of critical federal funding. The executive order has met several road blocks. 

Janet Bush, Minister of the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence church told 22News, “We believe in justice and equity and compassion and human relations and treating people fairly and standing with people those who are not being treated fairly by the government.”

Minister Bush told 22News, they plan to provide sanctuary for Irida for however long it takes. 

Lucio Perez, an undocumented immigrant, from Guatemala has been living inside the First Congregational Church in Amherst for almost six months.

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