An undocumented mother of four stands in the First Unitarian Society Church in Colorado in 2017, after taking refuge to avoid ICE officers. Photo: Chris Schneider/AFP/Getty Images

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the largest Lutheran denomination in the U.S., announced Wednesday that it had voted to become a "sanctuary church body" for undocumented immigrants, claiming to be the first North American denomination to do so.

What it means: Sanctuary cities and counties, the most frequently designated areas to dub themselves as "sanctuaries," "generally describe places that limit how local law enforcement can cooperate with federal immigration agents," per the New York Times.

Yes, but: Individual Protestant churches have long been used as de-facto sanctuaries, as undocumented migrants can stay in them to avoid ICE officers. Some pastors offer their churches as shelter to those who fear deportation.

  • ICE officers frequently stay out of a church if undocumented immigrants are staying there, but churches do not provide federal legal sanctuary, Cornell Law professor Stephen Yale-Loehr told CNN.
  • "I think for publicity reasons, immigration enforcement does not like to go into churches," Yale-Loehr added.

The big picture: Religion is fueling a new wave of activism against President Trump's immigration policies. Catholic and Jewish activists have staged protests and created new organizations in recent months to protest the detention of migrant children, as well as ICE itself.

Go deeper: Religion is fueling a new wave of immigration activism

Go deeper

3 mins ago - Technology

What a President Biden would mean for tech

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A Biden presidency would put the tech industry on stabler ground than it's had with President Trump. Although Biden is unlikely to rein in those Democrats who are itching to regulate the big platforms, he'll almost certainly have other, bigger priorities.

The big picture: Liberal Silicon Valley remains one of Democrats' most reliable sources for big-money donations. But a Biden win offers no guarantee that tech will be able to renew the cozy relationship it had with the Obama White House.

Virtual school is another setback for struggling retail industry

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A virtual school year will likely push retailers even closer to the brink.

Why it matters: Back-to-school season is the second-biggest revenue generating period for the retail sector, after the holidays. But retailers say typical shopping sprees will be smaller with students learning at home — another setback for their industry, which has seen a slew of store closures and bankruptcy filings since the pandemic hit.

1 hour ago - Health

The pandemic hasn't hampered the health care industry

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The economy has been tanking. Coronavirus infections and deaths have been rising. And the health care industry is as rich as ever.

The big picture: Second-quarter results are still pouring in, but so far, a vast majority of health care companies are reporting profits that many people assumed would not have been possible as the pandemic raged on.