Event at Capitol today to focus on immigrant rights

Staff ReportsApril 10, 2009 

— Advocacy and church groups planned to gather this morning at a church on Poole Road and march to the state Capitol for a noon religious service emphasizing the rights of immigrants.

Organizers with the Carolina Interfaith Task Force on Central America said they expected about 200 people at the Capitol event, scheduled to run from noon to 2 p.m. Human rights and religious leaders, including retired Catholic Bishop Joseph Gossman, were expected to participate.

The groups planned to meet at 8:30 a.m. at Cokesbury United Methodist Church at 3315 Poole Road to begin the walk to the Capitol. Organizers said marchers will walk past homicide sites and stop in front of Central Prison to call for an end to the death penalty.

Leaders of the Carolina Interfaith Task Force and other groups began a "pilgrimage" on Sunday and held events in Charlotte, Asheville, Winston-Salem, Moncure, Pittsboro, Burlington, Graham and Greensboro over the past week.

Gail Phares, director of the Task Force, said in a statement that the organization is seeking a "sane immigration policy" to allow migrants to safely and legally work in the United States. She said that immigration raids, local ordinances and messages of hate targeting Latinos have created fear and uncertainty.

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