PHILADELPHIA (December 9, 2010) – The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a 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 coast-to-coast effort, AFSC is calling on Congress and the Obama administration to halt policies that separate families and militarizes communities.
Fifteen events in 13 cities will bring immigrant and refugee communities and their allies together to urge elected officials to uphold international law by ending policies that violate the human rights of immigrants. Hearings, vigils, the “InHuman Rights Awards,” and more events will be held coast to coast. Visit http://bit.ly/fdeMiR for a complete listing.
“The state of human rights for immigrants in the U.S. is dismal. While the Senate may pass a watered-down version of the DREAM Act, it currently ignores the basic human rights of education and health care for immigrant youth. Add to that the administration continues its immoral policies of massive deportations and detentions, and you will see increasing hostility towards millions of people only seeking to build better lives,” says Christian Ramirez, AFSC’s national coordinator for immigrants rights.
Earlier this month, federal officials came under fire for employing unusual methods to increase the number of deportations before September 30, the end of the federal fiscal year. Nearly 400,000 migrants – an all-time record - were removed from the United States during the last fiscal year.
The days of action begin December 10 in Newark, where organizers will conduct trainings to inform immigrants of their rights and explain the impact of the controversial “Secure Communities” federal program that pressures local law enforcement agencies to enforce national immigration law.
“Secure Communities does exactly the opposite of its name. It undermines public safety by creating mistrust between immigrants and law enforcement,” says Chia-Chia Wang, an AFSC organizer in New Jersey.
On December 11, 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 holiday carols and exchange gifts across the wall.
Increased border infrastructure and additional Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents have brought tragic consequences, for example in the case of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, a father of five and long time resident of San Diego. In May, he was beaten and tasered to death by CBP agents near a busy border crossing. A video of the incident created an international furor.
“The case of Anastasio remains unresolved, like many of the cases involving the use of deadly force by border guards. It’s part of the tragic reality of border communities,” says Pedro Rios of AFSC’s San Diego office.
At least 6,000 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.
For more information on AFSC’s immigrants rights programs, visit www.afsc.org/immigration or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.