Interfaith Vigils to Support Immigrant Detainee1st Saturdays of every month from 11am-12noon
West County Detention Facility, 5555 Giant Highway, Richmond:
Vigil attendees at West County Detention Facility
We invite you to join our vigils each month as we gather to pray and bear witness to the pain, suffering, and separation of immigrant detainees, and to call for real and immediate immigration reform. We invite you to join us to pray, sing, and act for just immigration solutions. Please bring a noisemaker for our sacred Moment of Noise– where we let the detainees know that we have not forgotten them.
Why we vigil at the West County Detention Facility in Richmond
We do this to stand in solidarity with the (150-300) people being held here for deportation and thousands in the other 250 detention centers across the country. We know that many have not been convicted of any “crime”, but are charged with a civil immigration offense. We know that detained here and facing deportation are asylum seekers, green card holders, and long term residents. Often the chief breadwinner is taken away, putting children and families in economic jeopardy. We know that ICE’s implementation of our immigration laws makes communities insecure. THEREFORE…
We come here each month, to call attention to our government’s wasteful spending of resources, deporting 315, 943 in FY 2014 (865 people a day), while failing to address root causes of migration. We seek to stop this system of detention and deportation and change our nation’s policies.
We know that all the deportees held here have families, most came not just for a better life, but to survive and support families. Many have fled terrible violence and now face it here, in another form. And now, the children have come, many to reunite with families already here…. and even they, face expedited deportation processes.
We do this to give moral and spiritual support to the families whose loved ones are being held here. We know their trauma can be deep and their lives filled with fear. We seek to give practical advice and counsel on legal, medical, food and housing issues and to be a friendly face. And we also do this to provide opportunity for people directly impacted by our detention and deportation policies to share their truth – to give their testimony so that they know, they are not alone.
We pray together for a just and fair immigration policy closer to what our Statue of Liberty proclaims “Mother of Exiles … Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
We pray, knowing that all our faith traditions call upon us to welcome strangers and aliens, for they are our sisters and brothers and our families, like them, we were once strangers and aliens in this land.
For more information about immigration detention, go to: Detention Watch Network, CIVIC.