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World Relief Calls for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Humane Treatment of Immigrants Detained

Contact: Andrea Kaufmann, World Relief, 443-451-1966


BALTIMORE, Apr. 2 /Christian Newswire/ -- A Baltimore-based international development organization calls for immigrants taken into custody by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to be treated with dignity and respect.


More than 50 immigrants employed by eight local businesses were taken into custody on Thursday. This is part of a country-wide operation that has raided businesses in states including Nebraska, Massachusetts, Texas, Minnesota and Illinois in the past month arresting more than 1,200 staff at local businesses.


People have been moved to detention centers across the country, separating communities, and leaving people unable to locate their spouses or children.


World Relief has mobilized church contacts to distribute phone cards to people who have been detained and are desperately trying to gain contact with members of their family.


"We are trying to tap into our network of churches to ensure these people have the resources they need," said Kurt Crays from World Relief, "Separated by thousands of miles, it is essential for people to be informed about the whereabouts of their family members."


A majority of the immigrants involved in the Baltimore-area raids were mothers and young children. Local immigrant rights groups called for the immediate release of pregnant women, minors and single parents.


Immigration officials said state and federal officials are in the process of interviewing detainees to find out if medical or sole caregiver issues would allow for their humanitarian release.


"This situation calls attention to the desperate need for a workable comprehensive immigration reform," says Amy Bliss, Immigration Legal Services Staff Attorney at World Relief. "The United States needs a workable solution that addresses the economic realities and holds up the value and dignity of human lives."


World Relief works in 24 countries, including in the United States offering refugee care, immigrant assistance and anti-trafficking programs.