Rabat - In a move that echoes the Underground Railroad that shepparded slaves to freedom, ISAIAH Minnesota is creating sanctuaries for immigrants and refugees on their desperate journey to Canada on foot, according to a CBC report on Monday.
Rabat – In a move that echoes the Underground Railroad that shepparded slaves to freedom, ISAIAH Minnesota is creating sanctuaries for immigrants and refugees on their desperate journey to Canada on foot, according to a CBC report on Monday.
It was a situation that Pastor James Erlandson, of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in St. Paul, Minnestoa, says couldn’t be ignored. “Why should they make that journey and lose fingers and toes in the cold?” he asks.
ISAIAH Minnesota is an organization of multi-denominational churches offering a safe, warm place for people rejected by America’s immigration and refugee system, especially in light of the new administration’s take on newcomers to the US. They are Christians, Jews and Muslims all working together for the common good of people in need.
“We sensed the anxiety of our Latino [and] Latina brothers and sisters, and others from African countries, other places, have about travel bans and what was said during the campaign, which… makes them fearful,” Erlandson explains. “Let’s keep them safe and warm here.”
According to the same source, under an International Convention, anyone who walks across the border into Canada on foot can apply for asylum. If they present themselves at the US-Canada border, however, they are simply turned away and told to apply formally from the US side.
In the weeks since Donald Trump was elected to the office of President of the United States, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of immigrants and refugees making the perilous winter journey on foot. Recently two Ghanian men suffered frostbite and hypothermia to reach the safety of Canada, losing fingers and toes in the process.
There is no US law on the books that prevents immigration officials from raiding the churches in search of people fleeing but the ISAIAH group is hoping the long-standing tradition of offering sanctuary will be respected.