As immigrants come north, ‘Let Our Families Go’ caravan heads for border tent city

Religion News Service | 11/14/2018 | Staff
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(RNS) — In July, Rabbi Josh Whinston volunteered to help a Guatemalan woman who had been separated from her family because of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy concerning migrants who crossed the border illegally.

During a four-hour drive from Ann Arbor, Mich., to Pittsburgh, he asked whether she would have fled her home country, which has one of the highest murder rates in Latin America, had she known that the U.S. government would separate her from her children.

No, she told him.

“That shook the earth beneath my feet,” said Whinston, who leads Temple Beth Emeth, a Reform synagogue in Ann Arbor. “And I think it changed me forever.”

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Later, when a congregant asked Whinston what people in the congregation could do to resist what they saw as an inhumane policy, his first thought was, “Donate to the ACLU,” the American Civil Liberties Union, which advocates for immigrants’ rights.

Then Whinston decided more direction was needed. So he decided to gather a group of people and drive to a temporary “tent city” in Tornillo, Texas, near the U.S.-Mexico border about 40 miles southeast of El Paso, where more than 1,400 unaccompanied minors await their release.

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On Monday (Nov. 12), the “Let Our Families Go” caravan stopped at Christ Church, a United Church of Christ in a St. Louis suburb, its third stop en route to Texas. By the time the group arrives in Tornillo for a day of action Thursday, there will be some 20 people in the caravan. About 50 activists are traveling from other parts of the country.

The goal of the trip, Whinston said, is to “raise our voices and ensure that indefinite detention of asylum seekers does not happen.”

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The Trump administration announced in June that it would end its family separation policy, which officials said was designed to deter migrants from coming...
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