Religious Leaders, Community Members Among Those Who Demonstrated
Faith leaders and local advocates from all over the United States completed a mile walk to the fence demarcating the United States and Mexico in Border Field State Park on December 10. The walk was done to highlight the difficulties faced by migrants who want to take asylum in the United States. The event was given the name “Love Knows No Borders” and happened almost a month after migrants from Central America amassed at the border.
The march occurred after a recent video surfaced of migrants, many of them young children, trying to cross into the United States from Mexico. A few were even observed climbing over the fence and approaching U.S. Border Patrol even after they were warned not to cross. The Border Patrol officers were repeatedly heard warning them against climbing barriers and told them that doing such an action constitutes a felony or misdemeanor as per U.S. law.
The marchers encountered fully armed border agents when they reached the Friendship Park and Border Field State Park. Officials warned the group to move back as they were on federal land. When the activists refused, many of them were arrested. Border agents arrested 32 people advocating human rights.
The activists are not an isolated group. Cities all over the United States held events during the first week of December to come together and be as one with the desperate migrants. Among the many activists, one group bearing the name American Friends Service Committee put on social media a complete map of locations participating in action during the week. The group made a statement where they asked the United States to end the militarization of all border communities and respect the human right-a much needed right- to migrate. It also wants to end the deportation and detention of immigrants.
Join the AFSC, our partners, faith leaders, & communities across the country for a week of action as we stand in solidarity with the migrant caravan & all who seek refuge in the U.S. Find a local solidarity event here: https://t.co/Yy7lGz9Hx8 #LoveKnowsNoBorders #MigrantCaravan pic.twitter.com/EnA1t7HZtP
— AFSC (@afsc_org) December 8, 2018
Imam Omar Suleiman said “We keep being told that we need to make a choice between violence and decency. That we have to make a choice between upholding dignity or upholding the power structures that continue to oppress people here and all around the world while touting this title of ‘the freest nation in the world.'”
For Border Patrol agents maintaining the sanctity of the border, the rally was a second confrontation from the time the Central American migrants walked into the region. Hondurans make up the majority of the migrant population. The first confrontation took place on November 25 and involved Border Patrol reacting to rock throwing from the Mexican side. The U.S. law enforcement personnel fired tear gas shells into the air to manage the situation. The law and order problem forced the U.S. and Mexican authorities to close the busy border crossing junction for about five hours.
Over 200 faith leaders taking action at border. Thank you Rev James Field for being there today. @UUJames #loveknowsnoborders #migrantjustice #sandiego #poorpeoplescampaign #migrantcaravan #internationalhumanrightsday https://t.co/3Hs6bOw2kt
— Cecily Arenas (@ArenasCecily) December 10, 2018
— ❀ Madi ❀ (@missmaaadsss) December 11, 2018
— Ginger Boehne (@slowgin14) December 11, 2018
Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis said “We can do better. Our sacred texts tell us to tear down walls, to welcome the immigrant and to treat everyone as if they are God’s children.”