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Southern border

Migrant families cross the Rio Grande to get illegally across the border into the United States, to turn themselves in to authorities and ask for asylum, next to the Paso del Norte international bridge, near El Paso, Texas in May.

Vigils in seven Montana cities are planned for Friday and Saturday in opposition to policies and conditions at detention facilities housing people crossing the southern border.

The vigils are part of an event on the same day called “Lights for Liberty,” a nationwide protest of U.S. immigration policy including reports of unsanitary and potentially unsafe conditions at some facilities. Five main events will be held in El Paso, San Diego, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Miami.

The Montana Human Rights Network announced vigils in Helena, Missoula, Bozeman, Billings, Great Falls, Kalispell and Thompson Falls to protest “cruel and inhumane U.S. detention and separation of families fleeing violence in Central America and elsewhere.”

  • Helena’s Vigil to End Human Detention Camps begins at 7 p.m. Friday in Constitution Park (6th and Last Chance Gulch) in downtown Helena and will feature songs, immigrant stories and voices of solidarity from the Indigenous and Jewish community. The event is organized by the Montana Human Rights Network. For more information, contact Rachel Carroll Rivas at media@mhrn.org.
  • Missoula’s hour-long Lights for Liberty Vigil begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday outside St. Paul Lutheran Church, 202 Brooks St. Event organizers include Montanans for Immigrant Justice, Missoula Rises, Soft Landing Missoula, Montana Human Rights Network, and Jeannette Rankin Peace Center. For more information, contact Erin Erickson at erickson@bebtlaw.com.
  • Bozeman’s Lights for Liberty Vigil begins at 7 p.m. Friday at the Gallatin County Courthouse, 311 W. Main St. Event organizers include PFLAG Bozeman and the Montana Human Rights Network. For more information, contact Michelle Grabbe at mgrabbe1008@msn.com.
  • Billings’ Lights for Liberty Vigil begins at 7 p.m. Friday at Billings First Church, 310 N 27th St. Event organizers include Billings First Church and Billings Sanctuary Rising and the Montana Human Rights Network. For more information, contact the Rev. Mike Mullberry at revmikemul@firstchurchbillings.org.
  • Great Falls' Lights for Liberty Rally will be Saturday July 13 at 11:30 a.m. at Great Falls Civic Center, 2 S Park Drive. Event organizers include Great Falls Community Action Team and the Montana Human Rights Network. For more information, contact Helena Lovick, Great Falls Community Action Team at gfcommunityactionteam@gmail.com.
  • Kalispell's Close the Camps event will be held at the Museum at Central School at 124 2nd Ave. from 5:30-7 p.m. on Friday. At the event there will be a collection for personal care items for migrant workers in the area. For more information, contact Cherilyn DeVries at info@loveliveshereflathead.org.
  • Thompson Falls Light for Liberty event will be held at the Sanders County Courthouse at 1111 W. Main in Thompson Falls on Friday at 7 p.m.

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Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct the address for the Gallatin County Courthouse. 

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