Record number of participants turn out for monthly immigration vigil at West County Detention Facility
A group of Episcopalians from across the diocese joined the February prayer vigil hosted by I'm 4 Human Integrity at the West County Detention Facility in Richmond. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (called ICE) permanently reserves about 300 beds for ICE to detain people at this jail. Sadly, Contra Costa County plans to build more space to rent to ICE. With the administration's promise of ICE raids and increased deportations, we fear that even the expanded occupancy will soon be filled to overflowing.
The vigil has met monthly now for about three years to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform and to bring current issues to attention and prayer. This month, we prayed especially for those being caught in the nightmare caused by the executive orders affecting all refugees and travelers to the U.S. from the seven banned countres. We also offered coffee and a snack to people visiting loved ones at the jail. Here we offered a friendly face and an opportunity to chat and/or pray. After their visit, some even joined us at the vigil.
Twenty-one of the Episcopalians at the vigil signed up to revamp the diocesan Migration and Immigration Task Force. We aim to equip the diocese, The Episcopal Church, and all who want to be of assistance in the difficulties that are sure to come during this administration. Episcopalians who are undocumented are of special concern.
This month the vigil hosted a record number of participants — about 150 people! There also were a record number of Episcopalians and Episcopal churches represented. I recognized members from All Souls, Berkeley; Church Divinity School of the Pacific; Christ the Lord, Pinole; El Buen Pastor, Redwood City; Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, San Francisco; St. Giles, Moraga; St. Paul's, Oakland; and La Santísima Trinidad / Holy Trinity, Richmond.