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Former VP Joe Biden's on his "No Malarkey" tour across Iowa, while the House Judiciary Committee had its first hearing with constitutional scholars.

Immigrants and Nuns Announce Civil Disobedience at Chicago ICE Facility

April 27, 2009

Chicago, Illinois – Day 100 of the Obama Administration will be the tipping point for a pair of nuns who have held prayer vigils outside the Broadview Immigration Detention Center for more than two years. On Thursday, two Sisters of Mercy and their supporters will block the driveway at the suburban Chicago facility for 15 minutes in an act of interfaith prayer and civil disobedience.

Catherine Salgado with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights says they are renewing their call for access to pastoral care for detainees.

"The detainees really need some kind of support; they are not even allowed to see their families. Having religious workers at the detention center will at least bring some comfort to these people in moments of despair."

About two-thirds of detainees are held in county and city jails, paid for by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. County jails must grant access to religious workers, but federal facilities like Broadview are not required to do the same.

Salgado says there should be compassion for these people as they go through tough times.

"In many cases, they are people who are asylum seekers, torture survivors, undocumented workers, trafficking victims who are waiting for their day in court. We want to make sure that their rights are respected."

Salgado and others are hoping the Obama Administration will take steps to end what they consider unjust detention and deportation and follow through on a commitment to reform immigration law. The administration recently signaled that a discussion on comprehensive immigration reform could happen sometime this year.


Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IL