Kansas group holds prayer vigil for immigrant children

Kansas group holds prayer vigil for immigrant children

LAWTON, Okla._A social justice organization from Kansas traveled to Fort Sill to pray for the immigrant children who are being housed on post by the federal government.

'Sunflower Community Action' members gathered just outside the post's gates, praying that the children will be kept safe and in healthy conditions, and put on the path to a better life than the one they left behind.

They said it was a long ride to get here, about 300 miles, but it was well worth it. They hope to raise awareness of the crisis and to urge residents to oppose the calls from politicians here locally and in Washington to deport these children.

Members from the Sunflower Community Action group sang as they got off the bus, some held signs, and others told stories of when they went through a similar situation.

"One thing we hope to have accomplished is that our leaders understand that we need a comprehensive reform immigration act system," said Deputy Director Reuben Eckels.

Deputy Director Reuben Eckels says they've traveled all over the country to talk about the humanitarian crisis as well as the poverty and violence that prompted many of these teenagers to leave their homes in Central America.

"It's my story and hundreds of our stories in there," said Executive Director Sulma Arias.

The community's executive director almost choked up just thinking about how she was also detained while migrating from El Salvador to America when she was just 12 years old.

"What I would like people in Oklahoma to understand is that they do need to help educate their state legislature," said Arias.

The community group doesn't believe that the children should be sent back, but should go through a process to become citizens, know their rights, and to be granted a better life.

After the prayer vigil, the members headed out to meet with member and leaders from Lawton's Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church as well as the attorneys who have been working with the children and advising them of their rights under the law.

Roughly 200 children have already been rotated out of the Fort Sill center to be connected with family members or sponsors.