For Planning Purposes: October 1, 2020
Contact: Omar Angel Perez | email@example.com | 202-699-0694
Erin Williams | firstname.lastname@example.org | 202-748-0699
WASHINGTON – Earlier today, Congregation Action Network, Church and Society, American Friends Service Committee, Church World Service, and Faithful America hosted a walk for justice to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Headquarters. The groups called on ICE to immediately release Binsar Siahaan, an undocumented Indonesian father and husband who was detained by ICE at his home on church property, and to stop separating families and communities. Supporters attempted to deliver a petition of 13,000 signatures in support for Mr. Siahaan, and leaders spoke out in support of Mr. Siahaan’s case. Below is a recap of the event, which was live streamed to Facebook and can be viewed here and here.
Agatha Tan, Esq., human rights advocate, read names of people who died in ICE Custody since April 2018: “I know how in the work that I do that the Indonesian community has been scared, and I want them to see and I want them to understand what’s happening here, that you have all come together not just for Binsar but for all immigrants who are living in constant fear right now. I want them to know that they’re not alone. Know that you have many friends in America. Know that we are with you, know that you are not alone, and we are here together today and will be with you until all can live in peace.”
Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea, director, Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries: “We are here on this day because two laws have been broken. The first is the law of God. The law of God who proclaimed through the words of the prophets that…all who are held captive must have freedom. The second law that has been broken has been ICE’s own law. They broke their law about sensitive locations that said they would not arrest at churches…hospitals…courthouses. It’s their law too that they’ve broken. You broke your law, you broke God’s law.”
Richard Morales, director of LA RED: “ICE said two years ago they would not enforce laws on church property – but that’s what they did in this case. We as a faith community made a decision that no one stands alone. We made a decision that we would defend ourselves, we would defend our families and our neighbors from deportation, and that we would do so by opening our doors, our congregations, creating teams to accompany the most vulnerable… and individually fighting as many cases as possible. We have lost many but there are many more of our friends, family and neighbors here with us because we decided as a faith community to stand up. We have a moral obligation to defend each other, we have an obligation to love each other. No matter how many times ICE shows up and lies…we will not be afraid and we will win.”
Laura Atwood, Doctors for Camp Closure and CAN Supporter: “Binsaar’s situation highlights ICE’s moral and safety recklessness in continuing to pursue detention, transportation and deportation during a pandemic. They are spreading COVID throughout the country and vulnerable countries in the world. We see the devastating effect on the well being and health of family members when they lose someone to detention, deportation or death, or any combination of the above. It is particularly painful when this loss is preventable or even malicious. We seek to relieve suffering and now we are standing in front of a building where many people have accepted compassionate healthcare for themselves or their family members and now these same people are being paid to create suffering. We are standing here and we ask you to stop.”
Statement from the office of Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD): “I am deeply concerned by reports that I’ve received of ICE’s actions against Binsar Siahaan on Glenmont United Methodist Church grounds. ICE’s sensitive locations policy seeks to, in its own words, enhance the public’s understanding and trust to ensure that people seeking to participate in activities or services provided at any sensitive location are free to do so without fear or hesitation. The violation of this policy undermines the public trust and spreads fear in places of safe haven.”
This was the latest action in a number of events held over the course of this week – including a prayer vigil at Glenmont United Methodist Church and a protest at the Baltimore ICE Offices – as an act of solidarity and support for Mr. Siahaan, who is being held at Irwin County Detention Facility in Georgia. He faces deportation and permanent separation from his family and community as soon as October 2.
Faith in Action, formerly known as PICO National Network, is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. The nonpartisan organization works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 46 local and state federations. For more information, visit www.faithinaction.org.
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