Fayetteville Vigil Supports Immigrant Children

By John Cumpston

Published 07/21 2014 05:55PM

Updated 07/21 2014 08:30PM

Fayetteville -- Dozens gathered outside the federal building in Fayetteville Monday, to support children who are entering the country illegally.

Attendees skipped lunch, donating the money they would have spent to groups working directly with the children. OMNI Center President Fernando Garcia says the larger goal is to raise awareness about why these kids are fleeing their own countries.

He says tens of thousands of children, mainly from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are being forced out by poverty and increasing gang violence.

"The gangs are threatening children, that if they don't join, they're either going to be assaulted, they're going to be raped or they're going to be murdered," Garcia says. "Children are left with 2 options, either flee or die."

He says economic policies are partially to blame.

"We've heard of big business going into towns and destroying local economies, cutting down the amount of jobs, driving down wages, uh labor rights violations," he says. "Basically, the Central American Free Trade Agreement is doing that in Central America but in a bigger scale."

Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan spoke at the event to show his support.

"We're going to do the right thing, and the right thing to do is take care of those children," Jordan told the crowd. "Someone asked me last week, they said 'What if the children come to your city?' I said, 'Then we will take them in and take care of them."

Today's event raised more than $300 to help humanitarian efforts at the border.

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