Faith leaders to take mass action at US-Mexico border

By agency reporter
December 6, 2018

On 10 December 2018, more than two hundred faith leaders from different traditions will converge on the US-Mexico border for a mass action in support of the migrant caravans and all those who seek refuge in the US. The event is organised by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker organisation that has worked with migrants and refugees for over 100 years.

The action will begin with a press conference in San Diego at 10am. It will be followed by a solemn procession and action near the border wall. The exact location of the press conference will be released closer to the event.  

“We are traveling to the border with people of many faiths to stand for the absolute protection of migrants seeking refuge and asylum”, said Joyce Ajlouny, General Secretary for AFSC. “We stand with border residents in prophetic witness against the militarisation of their communities, and the people of the migrant caravans, who seek a chance to live in safety and peace.” 

This event begins a nation-wide week of action called Love Knows No Borders: A moral call for migrant justice. Between Human Rights Day on 10 December and International Migrants’ Day on 18 December, solidarity actions will take place across the nation. Participants are calling on the US government to end the detention and deportation of immigrants, respect the human right to migrate, and end the militarisation of border communities. 

This mobilisation comes at a time when thousands of migrants – many seeking asylum – are seeking entry into the US, but instead have been met with tear gas, the US military, and indefinite detention.  “The border is essentially closed, with only a handful of people being accepted at ports of entry to declare themselves for asylum each day”, said Araceli Velasquez, a leader of Colorado’s sanctuary movement who herself has been in sanctuary for over a year. “As a mom, I can only imagine how desperate I would be looking at my three sons and not being able to get to safety, to be in limbo in Tijuana and not be able to provide for them. That trauma is just added to the trauma they experienced on the journey or the trauma they might have experiences in their country of origin. This is a huge injustice by the US government.”

On the day before the 10 December action, there will be an interfaith service led by local clergy and the New Poor People’s Campaign. The service will take place at the University Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Hillcrest, 3900 Cleveland, in San Diego on Sunday 9 December at 6:30.

The mobilisation at the border has been endorsed by a growing list of organisations and congregations, including the New Poor People’s Campaign, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Showing Up for Racial Justice, Detention Watch Network, the United Methodist Church, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and many others.  

In Mexico and Central America, AFSC programmes strengthen civil society networks and AFSC staff are working alongside other Mexican organisations to support the migrant caravans with humanitarian aid, accompaniment and human rights monitoring. In the US, AFSC is organising for just and humane immigration policies, and working for the demilitarisation of the border.

“Instead of endangering our communities with more militarisation, US authorities should concentrate their resources on expediting asylum requests and safeguarding human rights”, said Pedro Rios, director of AFSC’s US-Mexico Border Programme. “We are taking this action at the border to assert a necessary moral witness and to ask our elected officials to stand on the side of humanity.”

* American Friends Service Committee


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