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Faith Leaders Marching in Solidarity with Immigrants

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Up to 50 people a day have signed up to walk some or all of the 40-mile route. (NH Council of Churches)
Up to 50 people a day have signed up to walk some or all of the 40-mile route. (NH Council of Churches)
August 24, 2018

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Members of New Hampshire's faith community are marching from Manchester to Dover to show solidarity with immigrants who are being rounded up and deported.

The march began Wednesday at the Federal Building in Manchester and will conclude on Saturday outside the Stafford County Jail where immigrants facing deportation are held. According to Jason Wells, executive director of the New Hampshire Council of Churches, the 40-mile route mirrors the path followed by many of those detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"We're doing this to build community between people who were born here and people who have immigrated here,” says Wells. “We're doing this to raise the profile and tell the story about what's happening right here in New Hampshire."

There are about 150 immigrants in detention at the county jail, one of six facilities in New England holding immigration detainees for the federal government.

As many as 50 people a day are signed up to march all or part of the route. Wells says in the evenings, they're holding informational meetings and presentations in towns along the way where immigrants can tell their stories.

"These are people who fled for fear of their lives, for fear of their children's lives, because of their being entrapped in a corrupt system of gang extortion,” Wells notes.

The final stop before reaching Dover will be in Madbury, where immigrants who fled the murder and torture of Christians in Indonesia are now facing possible deportation.

The march will end on Saturday with a prayer service and vigil outside the jail in Dover. Wells says they want to send the message that they stand with immigrants.

"These are people who live in our communities, who we work alongside, who we go to school with and who we love, and we want to see this cruel, inhumane system stopped and replaced,” says Wells.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NH