Philadelphians gather for World Refugee Day, react to Trump's executive order

Annie McCormick Image
Thursday, June 21, 2018
Philadelphians gather for World Refugee Day, react to executive order
Philadelphians gather for World Refugee Day, react to executive order: Annie McCormick reports on Action News at 10 p.m., June 20, 2018

CITY HALL (WPVI) -- While the people detained for illegally entering the United States might not all be considered refugees, many Philadelphians said the images of children separated from parents show there is a dire need to fix immigration policy.

As people gathered to take part in a World Refugee Day event in the City Hall courtyard Wednesday, many were talking about the situation at the Mexican border.

"No matter what was going on, we were going to celebrate World Refugee Day today," said Daniella Scruggs of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, an organization that has helped refugees since the 19th century.

"I think it's important to welcome all kinds of refugees no matter where they are from escaping persecution," Scruggs said.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to keep families detained together.

Juntos Executive Director Erika Almiron said that is not a solution.

"Do you want us to take away your child or lock up your child with you? Either of those solutions is atrocious and should not exist in this country," Almiron said.

Already Juntos, a local immigrant rights advocacy organization, has fought to close a family detention center in Berks County. It's only one of three in the country and has been open for ten years.

Governors from Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania announced they will withhold National Guard support in protest.

Mayor Jim Kenney said he hopes Philadelphia will continue to be a welcoming city.

"We can continue to do events like this to show people we value their presence, and we can continue to be good people ourselves and treat people the way you want to be treated," he said.


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