LYNN — Immigration advocates calling for an end to detention and deportation will make St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church a stop Monday during their 280-mile, six-day march through three states.
Three marches planned to start in Montpelier, Vt., Concord, N.H. and another beginning in Boston will hit the road Monday and converge in Dover, N.N., where a federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office is located, on Aug. 24.
Boston marchers plan to spend Monday night at St. Stephen’s on Lynn Common following a rally highlighting the march’s objectives.
“We’ll gather with families affected by deportation who will be sharing testimony about what it is like to be oppressed by a broken system. We want to make sure it’s understood we won’t tolerate family separation,” said Essex County Community Organization (ECCO) immigration organizer Isabel Lopez.
The immigration debate flashpoint earlier this year centered on the Texas-Mexico border and federal policies separating immigrant parents and children. But protests spread to other states in recent months, intensified by a federal push to restrict legal immigration by denying green cards to many migrants who use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance.
This initiative preceded Thursday’s announcement by federal authorities announcing plans to end temporary protected status to immigrants from several countries who fled their homelands due to natural disasters and war.
Monday’s Faith In Action march is intended, according to a statement sent by organizers, ” … to send a message that the violence perpetrated against immigrants and people of color in this country represents a moral and spiritual crisis.”
“We have faith leaders, community leaders, labor leaders, families and children walking with us,” Lopez said.
The marchers are calling on 2020 presidential candidates, as well as all elected officials, to commit to ending all detention and deportation. On Tuesday, the marchers pass through Danvers, Newburyport, entering New Hampshire on Thursday.
Faith In Action works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 46 local and state federations.