'Courageous action is necessary': 30 faith leaders arrested at border in support of asylum seekers
Border agents came armed and shielded with riot gear. They came shielded with prayers. Approximately 30 faith leaders—including those from Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and indigenous communities—were arrested at the U.S./Mexico border Monday, among the hundreds who gathered in San Diego to defend the international and U.S. right to seek asylum at our borders.
“As a Quaker,” said organizer Laura Boyce of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), “I believe there is that of the divine in all of us. 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.”
The faith leaders were among the 400 people who gathered to stand in solidarity with the thousands who continue to have their processing slow-walked by border officials as others have been illegally blocked altogether from presenting themselves at the border. When faith leaders “reached the enforcement zone,” a AFSC statement says, “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.”
“We can do better,” said Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis. “Our sacred texts tell us to tear down walls, to welcome the immigrant and to treat everyone as if they are God’s children.”
The action fell on both Human Rights Day and the start of a week of action called “Love Knows No Borders: A Moral Call for Migrant Justice.” Some supporters from the gathering carried signs reading “No Cages, No Walls,” a reminder to all that more than 130 days past a federal judge’s reunification deadline, children kidnapped from the arms of asylum seekers at the southern border continue to remain in U.S. custody.