World News

Religious Leaders to the United States: 'Respect the Rights of Migrants'

Religious Leaders to the United States: 'Respect the Rights of Migrants'

Thousands of migrants are living in crowded tent cities in the Mexican city of Tijuana after undertaking a grueling, weeks-long journey to the USA border.

Singing and praying, religious leaders moved forward in lines of four to six, some wearing T-shirts reading, "Love Knows No Borders".

More than 400 demonstrators, many leaders of churches, mosques, synagogues and indigenous communities, called for an end to detention and deportation of migrants and for the United States to welcome the caravan that arrived in Tijuana, Mexico in November.

Border Patrol spokesman Eduardo Olmos said 31 people were arrested for trespassing by the Federal Protective Service at Monday's demonstration and one was arrested by the Border Patrol for assaulting an agent.

"Families, women, and children who have fled our countries continue to suffer and the civil society of Tijuana continue to be forces to confront this humanitarian crisis, a refugee crisis caused in great part by decades of USA intervention in Central America", wrote the asylum-seekers. "We're calling on the United States to respect the rights of migrants", said Joyce Ajlouny, general secretary of the American Friends Service Committee, which has run a week of actions to back migrants.

The arrests marked the second confrontation with U.S. authorities since the caravan reached Tijuana.

More news: Yemen port, airport on peace talks agenda

In November, Tijuana's mayor, Juan Manuel Gastelum, declared an global humanitarian crisis after more than 5,000 Central American migrants arrived in the border town.

Kevin McAleenan, commissioner for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, is scheduled to testify at a hearing Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. That's a 67 percent jump from 55,584 claims documented the previous fiscal year. Many face waiting weeks or months in Mexico while they apply for asylum. Their goal was to send a message to the Trump administration: that the United States has not followed global law that allows illegal aliens to apply for asylum.

"We remind you that if the USA does not want more migration, it should put a stop to the economic, political, and military intervention in our territory", wrote the asylum-seekers in the letter, which Common Dreams obtained.

Led by Pueblo Sin Fronteras, the organization that organized the migrant caravans, the second group was able to secure a meeting with Mexican immigration officials, whom they asked to stop working with police to deport caravan members.

This story was reported from NY. The number accounts for around 21 per cent of all those in the world seeking a new home.


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