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Showdown At Tucson: The Great Sanctuary ‘Alien-Smuggling’ Trial

In 1985 Elman taught in the Creative Writing Department at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he also attended the trial of clergy providing sanctuary for political refugees from El Salvador and Guatemala. These clergy, who were part of a larger Sanctuary movement, were accused by the American Government and the INS of smuggling aliens into this country. The government’s case prevailed. Elman’s account of the trial in his unpublished manuscript, Showdown At Tucson: The Great Sanctuary ‘Alien-Smuggling’ Trial available here, places the issues within the context of those who are critical of U.S. immigration policies, and of the foreign policies of our government in Central America. That these problems persist into our present lives is a testament to the continued relevance of Elman’s work.