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Community discussions on immigration set for Saturday

Kerri Harris
Kerri Harris and others at an immigration vigil on July 12th.

Community meetings on immigration at the United States’ Southern Border will be held in Delaware this Saturday.

Progressive activist Kerri Harris is inviting the public to talk about immigration in New Castle and Kent Counties. She said she also hopes to organize a meeting in Sussex County at a later date.

Harris said the discussion will delve into the foreign policy that has contributed to the crisis at the border, explain legal immigration and the process to gain legal status. She hopes people will come together for an open, but civil conversation about their feelings on what’s currently happening with immigration policy.

“There is some disagreement about whether people should be detained in general, but the overwhelming agreement is ‘Let’s not allow human rights’ violations to happen in our name,’” she said.

There has been controversy surrounding some of the changes to immigration policy implemented by the Trump administration. Inspector General reports of some facilities have found crowded conditions with a lack of access to showers and hygiene products. A new policy that went into effect Tuesday to reduce asylum applications already faces a legal challenge.

Harris said there are communities of refugees and undocumented people in Delaware who are worried about being deported.

“We have a large Haitian community who is concerned about their TPS (Temporary Protected Status) status being affected and if that’s going to change because there have been other refugee groups who have been deported,” she said.

Harris said the meetings are being held at churches so federal immigration officials can’t enter them.

Attendees will also receive training on their legal rights and citizen advocacy. Harris adds she hasn’t heard of any recent immigration raids in Delaware.

The Dover meeting starts at 2 p.m. at the Wesley United Methodist Church. The Wilmington meeting is at 6 p.m. at the Mother African Union Church.

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