LIRS official: Film raises awareness about political asylum

The president of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), Baltimore, says he hopes a film that premiered Jan. 19 on cable television “moves the hearts of Lutherans and other Americans to join us in welcoming those seeking political asylum.”

In an LIRS news release, Ralston Deffenbaugh Jr. says the film, “Chasing Freedom,” “reminds us not only of the peril asylum seekers face when they flee war and persecution in search of freedom, but of our responsibility as a country to greet them with humanity and justice when they arrive on our shores.”

The film aired Jan. 19 on the Court TV channel.

The release encourages Lutheran church groups and others to watch the film, discuss related faith-based questions at the http://www.lirs.org Web site, and to write letters to their representatives in Congress, urging them to support the Unaccompanied Alien Child Protection Act now before Congress.

That act would help protect foreign-born children in the United States who are not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

In addition to the discussion guide, the Web site has a sample letter, devotional material on political-asylum issues, and a list of dates and locations for sneak-preview showings of the film.

“Chasing Freedom,” inspired by actual events, tells the story of Libby Brock, a corporate lawyer who takes on the pro-bono case of Meena, an Afghan woman seeking political asylum in the United States.

The LIRS news release says the film offers “a sobering portrayal of the nearly insurmountable obstacles that asylum seekers face.”

January 2004

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