Demonstrating for migrant rights

Check out photos from our “Migration is a Human Right” week of action.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights. From Dec. 10 (International Human Rights Day) through Dec. 18 (International Migrants Day), AFSC and partners organized protests, vigils, and events in cities across the U.S. as part of our “Migration is a Human Right” week of action. Together, we took action to demand that migrants be treated with the dignity and respect we all deserve. 

“This Human Rights Day, like every other day, thousands of immigrants are jailed in detention centers, trapped at the border, or forced to suffer uncertainty and hardship while Congress and the Biden administration continue to choose political posturing over real solutions,” said Amy Gottlieb, AFSC U.S. migration director. “But even in these dark times, we take solace in the light and love within our communities. We celebrate our networks of solidarity and mutual aid and our many small victories: stopping deportations, changing campus policies, or mitigating the harms of immigration enforcement.”

Here are some photos from the week.


Pedro Rios/AFSC

San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico 

Community members in San Diego and Tijuana gathered for the 30th annual binational celebration La Posada Sin Fronteras. Every year, we come together to remember those who lost their lives crossing the border—reading aloud every name. And we call for humane and just immigration policies.

On the San Diego side, attendees gathered in an area near the border wall known as “Whiskey 8.” For several months, Border Patrol officers have forced asylum seekers to wait in open-air detention sites in this area and others for hours or days—without access to water, food, sanitation, and other basic services. AFSC and partners have been providing food, water, medical care, and other emergency relief to migrants. Last week, AFSC and six other immigrant rights organizations filed an urgent federal complaint to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties against Customs and Border Protection for violating their own custody standards on how they are supposed to transport, escort, detain, and search asylum seekers.

Read more in this San Diego Union-Tribune article. 


Maria Bilbao/ AFSC


Every Wednesday—rain or shine—AFSC and a coalition of community members gather outside the immigration office in Miramar, South Florida. Our Miramar Circle of Protection provides support to the hundreds of immigrants who come to this facility every day to meet with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials. 

As part of the week of action, AFSC held a press conference urging the Biden administration to approve work permits for more migrants. Work permits are vital to protect immigrants and their families as Congress debates more restrictions on immigration. “There are millions of undocumented immigrants who have been living in the U.S. for years, working without permits, and are in constant fear of being detained by immigration officers,” said AFSC Guadalupe De la Cruz. “We urge the president to expand parole, TPS (Temporary Protected Status), and DED (Deferred Enforced Departure).” (WLRN) 

Read more in this WLRN article.  


Jennifer Piper/AFSC


AFSC’s Colorado program invited community members to a vigil, posada, and party as part of the week of action. The Sunday afternoon event began at Library Park with songs, candles, and dance. From there, community members attended AFSC’s open house, sharing food, music, traditions, and ways they could support each other in pushing for migrant rights. Watch a Facebook Live recording of the event.  

Earlier in the week, AFSC also hosted an event for volunteers to prepare grab-and-go snack bags for people transitioning from their home country to their new homes in the U.S. 

Read this Fort Morgan Times article.


Araceli Argueta/AFSC

New Jersey

AFSC’s New Jersey Immigrant Rights Program organized several events during the week, including opportunities for immigrants to come together and share resources on the issues they face. People with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) gathered to discuss recent changes to TPS and upcoming advocacy efforts calling for citizenship for all immigrants. Immigrant women also attended a session about ways they and their families could access the education system in the U.S. and push for equity in education.  

AFSC and community members also protested immigration detention at an action at Elizabeth Detention Center (above). We also hosted the webinar “From Palestine to Mexico: How Palestine and the U.S. Immigration Industrial Complex Are Connected.” 


Photo: Maggie Fogarty/AFSC

New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, AFSC and community members took time to recognize the important contributions of migrants, highlight the challenges they face, and share ways we can work together to uphold every human being’s right to migrate safely and with dignity. During the week of action, we hosted a candlelight vigil to show love and solidarity for migrants and all who are imprisoned at the Strafford County jail in Dover. We also invited the public to “Home is a Human Right,” a community potluck and short film screening to share, learn, and uplift migrant peoples’ stories. 


Amy Gottlieb/AFSC

New York

Brooklyn Friends meeting hosted a hybrid teach-in “Migration is a Human Right!” featuring AFSC’s Amy Gottlieb and Alex Goncalves-Pena. They provided context on the challenges facing migrants in their everyday lives—and ongoing advocacy for more just, humane immigration policies in the U.S.