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Religious Leaders Arrested at the Border

Hundreds of faith leaders face Border Patrol agents at the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego as part of AFSC's week of action Love Knows No Borders: A moral call for migrant justice.  Photo: AFSC

30 people arrested for nonviolent action in support of migrant caravans

San Diego, CA (December 10, 2018) This afternoon, dozens of faith leaders were arrested in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience at the U.S.-Mexico border. More than 400 people of faith and supporters gathered in Border Field State Park in San Diego in support of migrants seeking refuge in the U.S. Faith leaders guided the group in a solemn procession to the border. When they reached the enforcement zone, they were stopped by a line of Border Patrol agents in riot gear. Leaders moved forward to offer a ceremonial blessing. Thirty people were taken into custody.

“As a Quaker, I believe there is that of the divine in all of us,” said Laura Boyce, Associate General Secretary for U.S. Programs at the American Friends Service Committee. “This belief calls us to stand with those fleeing violence and poverty, and to call on our government to uphold the human rights of migrants and end the militarization of border communities. In the face of unfounded fear, racism and violence, courageous action is necessary.”

Today’s event launches a nation-wide week of action called Love Knows No Borders: A moral call for migrant justice. Between Human Rights Day on Dec. 10 and International Migrants’ Day on Dec. 18, more than fifty solidarity actions will take place across the nation. 

“Showing up to welcome and bless children, mothers and fathers seeking asylum from very difficult and dehumanizing circumstances is the right and humane thing to do,” said Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño, from the San Francisco Area United Methodist Church. “How we act in these moments determines who we will become as a nation.”

The action included people from numerous religious traditions, including those from Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and indigenous communities, many expressing how their faith called them to take part. Participants are calling on the U.S. to respect the human right to migrate, end the militarization of border communities, and end the detention and deportation of immigrants. As a step towards those goals, they are also calling on Congress to defund Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). 

“When our laws are co-opted for greed and political gain; when such laws are used as weapons of disenfranchisement against black and brown families; when such laws are executed inhumanely, then people of Faith are compelled to resist in the interest of preserving our humanity,” said Traci Blackmon, Executive Minister of Justice and Local Ministries for the United Church of Christ. “Civil Rights cannot exist in the absence of Human Rights. If one’s Faith does not teach this, it is not Faith at all.”

Love Knows No Borders is organized by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker organization that has worked with migrants and refugees for over 100 years. AFSC is joined by organizations and congregations from across the country, including New Poor People’s Campaign, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Showing Up for Racial Justice, Detention Watch Network, the United Methodist Church, Jewish Voice for Peace, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Church World Service, and many others.   


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.

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