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Faith Leaders Applaud New York’s Suspension of Deportation Program

June 1, 2011

New York, NY (June 1, 2011) – Faith leaders today voiced enthusiastic support for Governor Cuomo’s suspension of the mass deportation program known as “Secure Communities.”

“Our spiritual mission is to welcome the stranger among us, and to clothe and feed them. Exiling immigrants is against our principles,” said Reverend Susan Switzer, Co-Chair of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City. “For too long, we have seen our congregations disappear before our eyes because of these deportation programs. We are grateful Governor Cuomo has taken a courageous stance to pull New York out of Secure Communities.”

“I work with immigrant communities who are afraid every day of their lives,” said Fabian Arias, minister of Zion Lutheran Church. “I see the harm these deportation programs cause our families and communities. We thank God that Governor Cuomo has stopped Secure Communities and we pray that God continues to transform our hearts to welcome immigrants.”

“Immigration and immigrant rights are huge issues for us,” stated Bishop Julio Mercado, First Gethsemane of Williamsburg and President of the Hispanic Ministers Association of Brooklyn. “We are very grateful that Governor Cuomo is supporting and protecting our immigrant families by withdrawing from Secure Communities.”

“Our congregation and community are so relieved,” said Reverend Omar Almonte of the Central Baptist Church and the American Association of Baptist Ministers. “We no longer have to deal with the fear of Secure Communities coming to New York City.”

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