Faith leaders denounce 'zero tolerance' immigration policy: "It is a horrifying nightmare"
NORMANDY PARK, Wash. -- Leaders from several different faiths denounced the Trump Administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy during an interfaith vigil held Monday at a church in Normandy Park.
Approximately 300 people attended the vigil at Normandy Park United Church of Christ, organizers told KOMO News. The church is one of the closest churches to the federal detention facility in SeaTac.
"I am not capable of being able to go on with life. I’m the only 16 and the possibility of having guidance or my family here is devastating," said Jaby, a high school student who spoke during the vigil. She didn't want to reveal her last name. "If something was to happen, that would tear my family apart."
She told KOMO News she wakes up everyday fearing that her parents could be deported.
She feels a connection every time she sees images of children being separated from their asylum-seeking families along the U.S./Mexico border, she said.
She went to the interfaith vigil Monday to share her story and join a call to action to end the Trump Administration's policy.
"We need to get together and fight this," one person said during the vigil.
"This is a moral issue, my friends," added another person.
White House officials have defended the immigration policy. It's meant to prevent people from crossing the border illegally, they said.
"The United States will not be a migrant camp," President Trump said Monday. "We will not be a refugee-holding facility. It won't be."
Michael Ramos, Executive Director of The Church Council of Greater Seattle, told the crowd at Monday's vigil that asylum-seekers being held along the border and in the Puget Sound region should be released. They should be reunited with their families and laws should be passed to keep those families together, he said.
"Maybe this will be a turning point so that people understand that people are fleeing violence, they’re fleeing oppression. They’re not leaving their home countries because they want to but because they have to in order to survive. And they come as families because they want their children to be able to live and not endure the situations in their home country any longer," Ramos said.
Several other groups have planned vigils and rallies through the end of June to denounce the "Zero tolerance” policy, including a nationwide event on Saturday, June 30.