International Human Rights Day Sparks National Action
Quaker Group, Activists Sound Call Across the U.S. for Humane Immigration Policy
PHILADELPHIA (December 9, 2009) – The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), the Quaker peace and social justice organization, is hosting nine days of action beginning on International Human Rights Day, December 10, and concluding on International Migrants Day, December 18. Through this effort, AFSC calls on Congress to pass humane immigration reform.
Sixteen events in 12 cities will bring immigrant and refugee communities together to urge swift passage of legislation that protects the rights of immigrants and refugees. The AFSC is hosting or co-sponsoring hearings, vigils and more from Newark New Jersey to Portland Oregon.
“Migrants have suffered abuses, detention and criminalization long enough,” says Christian Ramirez, national coordinator for immigrants rights at AFSC. “Let us honor the contribution and resilience of the millions of immigrants who work hard, pay taxes and contribute to our communities. The time for Congress to act on humane immigration reform is now.”
AFSC has outlined concrete policy recommendations in A New Path: Towards Humane Immigration Policy released earlier this year. To download a copy of the document, please visit the website www.afsc.org/ImmigrantsRights.
The days of action begin December 10 in Newark, where organizers will walk six miles from the Newark Federal Building to the Elizabeth Immigrant Detention Center where hundreds of immigrants are detained.
“The current policies have led to dramatic overcrowding in detention facilities that separate families and lead to unnecessary suffering,” says Chia-Chia Wang, an AFSC organizer in New Jersey.
On December 13, religious leaders and members of faith communities will come together at the US-Mexico border wall that divides San Diego and Tijuana to hold the annual Posada Sin Fronteras. Traditionally posada participants sing Christmas carols and exchange gifts across the wall.
“This year’s Posada Sin Fronteras will be the first time in nearly 20 years in which residents from Tijuana and San Diego will not be able to touch each other across the fence. The increased border infrastructure has threatened a great, humane gesture,” says Pedro Rios, director of the San Diego Office of AFSC.
At least 5,600 migrants have perished at the U.S.-Mexico border as a direct result of U.S. border enforcement policies since 1994 - more border deaths than during the entire history of the Berlin Wall.
The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.