“When I got off the plane, I said, ‘My life is going to be protected now.’ Instead I was locked up like a criminal. … I kept saying, ‘This is America?'”
Mekabou Fofana, a young man who fled war in Liberia, West Africa, tells his story in America: A Freedom Country, a new book from Baltimore-based Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS).
The 44-page book, written by Batya Swift Yasgur and featuring photographs by Steven Rubin, tells the stories of 10 asylum seekers who came to the United States seeking refuge from persecution in their homelands.
The book is “a powerful tool”‘ for church groups and advocates seeking to educate their communities about the U.S. asylum system and the “harsh realities” of immigration detention, according to LIRS President Ralston H. Deffenbaugh Jr. It also provides policy recommendations and ideas for individuals to help affect change.
“The men, women and children highlighted in America: A Freedom Country entered the United States in various places, and their experiences are diverse, but all of their stories illustrate the profound human cost of detention, and the strong need for us to reform our nation’s asylum policy,” Deffenbaugh said. “I am sure readers of this book will be moved to act to restore justice to our laws. I encourage Lutherans and all Americans to become advocates for change. By raising a united voice, we can rectify the injustices of our current asylum system.”
The book is available from LIRS for $8 per copy, including postage. To order, send a check or money order to Asylum Storybook, LIRS, 700 Light St., Baltimore, MD 21230.
It also is available free, in PDF format, from the LIRS Web site at www.lirs.org.
For more information, contact LIRS via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.