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Quakers lead rally of 200 religious leaders for immigrants at the border

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Hundreds of religious leaders gathered Monday at the southern U.S. border to support migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. to mark Human Rights Day.

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker group that has worked with migrants, organized the gathering of more than 200 religious leaders, NBC News reported.

The New York Daily News reported that 32 of the religious leaders were arrested during the demonstration at the border, mostly on trespassing charges.

Border Patrol spokesman Theron Francisco told the Daily News that 31 people were trespassing and that the other person was arrested for assaulting an officer.

“We’re calling on the U.S. to respect the rights of migrants,” Joyce Ajlouny, the general secretary of AFSC, told NBC News.

Thousands of migrants in recent months have made their way through Mexico and toward the southern U.S. border. Many of the migrants say they are fleeing violence in Central America, but President Trump has said they present a national security threat and has threatened to close off the border.

Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis told NBC News that “sacred texts tell us to tear down walls.”

“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,” Theoharis said. 

The religious leaders held a press conference at the Border Field State Park in San Diego before marching to the border between San Diego and Tijuana, according to NBC News.

-Updated 6:54 p.m.

 

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