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Immigration advocates rally at UMC convention

FORT WORTH -- Hundreds of immigration advocates gathered at the Water Gardens near the Fort Worth Convention Center, where about 4,000 Methodists have been attending a General Conference.

Some held signs that stated: "The United Methodist Church supports immigrant, civil and human rights! Others carried signs that stated: "No Human Being is Illegal!” and “Love Your Neighbor as Yourself."

The peaceful rally began with singing and dancing by members of the First Tongan United Methodist Church of Waimanalo, Hawaii. Bishop Minerva Carcaño of Phoenix, chair of a task force on immigration, introduced bishops and church leaders from across the globe. Each explained how the current fervor against immigrants is leading to fear, broken families and unfair working conditions.

Among top concerns are urging Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, path for citizenship for all undocumented immigrants, protections for all workers and reunification of families torn apart by deportation.

Rev. David Martinez of El Buen Samaritano church in Fort Worth, read letters from undocumented workers to show how they hold on to hope when times are desperate.

"Twenty years have passed," Martinez read from a letter. "I'm still undocumented and that haunts me wherever I go."