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African-American religious leaders are demanding that immigration detainees are allowed to exercise their right to clergy visits, as they take a stand against President Donald Trump’s immoral policy of separating children from their parents.

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The Rev. Al Sharpton, president and founder of the National Action Network, announced Monday that social justice leaders will hold a press conference on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., to urge the Trump administration to end its policy of separating families at the U.S. border.

Meanwhile, Sharpton and other clergy plan to visit separated families held in detention by immigration officials. They are calling on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to permit the visit because “all have the right to a ministerial visit,” a statement said.

African-American clergy are part of the growing opposition to Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy against anyone caught crossing the border illegally into the United States, including those who are seeking asylum. Under the policy, the government is separating families. The Department of Health and Human Services has taken more than 11,000 children from their parent, according to figures from the Washington Post.

Sessions defended the administration’s policy on Thursday by quoting scripture (Romans 13), which he interpreted as a directive from God to obey government laws for the purpose creating an orderly society.

That comment received quick rebuke from members of the Black clergy.

“The Bible does not justify discrimination masked as racism, sexism, economic inequality, oppression or the abuse of children,” said a statement from the Council of Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Political and civil leaders are continuing to push for passage of the Keep Families Together Act (S. 3036) to stop family separations. California’s Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein introduced the measure, which has received support from more than 30 of their colleagues, according to the NAACP.


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