South Congregational Church in Springfield is getting ready to open their doors to undocumented immigrants fearing deportation. However, Mayor Domenic Sarno is taking steps to stop them. 

“We will not stand for the harboring and protecting of illegal and/or criminal activities at this site,” Sarno said in a statement. “These individuals have been determined for one illegal and/or criminal reason to face deportation.”

Sarno, who has previously said that Springfield is not a so-called sanctuary city, says he has instructed city departments to see if the church's plans violate the building code, fire code, health code or any other city code.

Reverend Tom Gerstenlauer was not pleased with this response.

"I was dismayed by what I perceived as vitriolic, malicious and hurtful comments,” says Gerstenlauer. “We operate not in the political sphere but in the faith sphere. There was no malice, no subversive motive involved in our decision."

Gerstenlauer says his church's plans will proceed and the space could be ready for undocumented immigrants within a month or two.

Immigration officials have a policy of staying away from sensitive locations such as schools and churches unless there is an imminent threat to public safety.