Saying that the prisoners were stripped of their clothes and deprived of food, Martinez recalled, "We would ask for water and they would give us urine."
Though he cannot confirm the truth of the refugees' stories, Pastor Santillana pointed to Census figures that show there were 94,447 Salvadorans in the United States in 1979 and to estimates of 500,000 Salvadorans who are here now, with or without appropriate documents.
"That tells us something terrible is happening in El Salvador," he said.
More churches will declare themselves sanctuaries, Santillana predicted, especially this month when they observe the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero, an outspoken critic of the Salvadoran regime who was slain at his altar in San Salvador in 1980.
Referring to the arrest of 16 sanctuary workers in Arizona, Santillana said, "They (the Reagan Administration) figure if they persecute people in Arizona (where the sanctuary movement began) that they can chop the head of the movement."