ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP)  -- About 15 congregations across Minnesota are preparing for people living in the U.S. illegally to live at their churches long term.

Reports say the religious institutions, known as ``sanctuary churches,'' have committed to helping such immigrants from being deported. They're relying on a federal policy not to make arrests in ``sensitive'' places unless absolutely necessary.

Religious network ISAIAH is organizing the effort. It has also enlisted congregations to provide support to immigrants facing deportation.

The Rev. Eliot Howard of Linden Hills United Church of Christ in Minneapolis committed to being a refuge in November. The congregation officially voted to become a sanctuary church earlier this month.

Howard says the church will undergo some renovations to make it ready to house immigrants should the need arise.