Faith Leaders, Immigrants Gather For World Refugee Day

Jun 20, 2018

Faith leaders, immigrants and their neighbors gathered today in Raleigh to recognize World Refugee Day.

The day began at Open Table United Methodist Church for prayer. Jennie Belle, a community organizer with Church World Service, said the group is using the day to speak out against current federal immigration policies.  

“Different faiths and clergy, to raise up a prophetic voice to say that the policies right now that our administration is implementing around separating families and not allowing refugees in this country are immoral,” Belle said.

The news in recent days has been dominated by searing images of children held in cages at border facilities, as well as audio recordings of young children crying for their parents — images that have sparked fury, question of morality and concern from Republicans about a negative impact on their races in November's midterm elections.

President Donald Trump said he would be signing an executive order later Wednesday that would end the process of separating children from families after they are detained crossing the U.S. border illegally. The effort would mark a dramatic turnaround for an administration that has been insisting, wrongly, that it has no choice but to separate families apprehended at the border because of the law and a court decision.

Ben Murphy of Durham brought his two-year-old son to the rally in Raleigh. Murphy got emotional thinking about children being separated from their families at the Mexico – U.S. border.

“And we feel pretty powerless to do anything and so this is something that will be a small gesture, not really a sacrifice but a way to show support for what’s happen there,” Murphy said.

The World Refugee Day event in Raleigh also recognized the “North Carolina Sanctuary Six,” the six undocumented immigrants living in area churches to avoid deportation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.