Beverly Church's Fight for Release of Immigrants: 1998

The paralegal advocated on behalf of Chinese detainees being held in a Pennsylvania prison.
4:05 | 07/03/13

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Transcript for Beverly Church's Fight for Release of Immigrants: 1998
Finally this evening our person of the week this is one of dedicated woman. The overall story here's probably familiar to you it's been in the news for quite some time. But we choose her because whatever you may think about the general subject of immigration. She was so determined. That others share the American dream. All of us came from other countries every single one of us. Which is a very important to Beverly church. In Pennsylvania this week in the Rolling Hills of Gettysburg which is such a part of the American Identity. Beverly church has been hard at work trying to open hearts open minds. An open borders. And even though we need to control some things that are happening our country and on our borders. We can close them. For three and a half years Beverly has been a regular visitor to the York county prison where a group of Chinese -- Have waited behind the barbed wire to see if America will have them. On the night of June 3 1993. In New York Harbor not far from that mighty woman we called the mother of exiles. A tramp steamer called the golden venture inched closer to the coast month on board 282. Chinese men and women. Who plan to slip quietly to shore when no one was watching. But then you remember the ship ran aground and under the spotlights of Coast Guard helicopters many of the desperate passengers tried to swim to shore. Some of them did not survive but those who shivered and -- asked for asylum. To save them they said from China's. Family planning policy which allows only one child per couple. All they were trying to do was tell this story of how the babies were ripped from their bodies. And how their husbands -- dragged off to be sterilized. In the morning these huddled masses were rounded up and sent to prison immigration officials said. They did not believe their stories. Most of them have been coached by to smugglers to request political asylum. And the United States and did not recognize China's family planning laws as cause for asylum. The federal government said the smuggle Chinese would be dealt with quickly. But the hearings drag on for years. Beverly church -- the Pennsylvania paralegal who volunteered to help the Chinese and wade through the paperwork. And then listening to what they had to say she gave them her heart and every Friday since she has visited him in prison. -- to say that someday they'll be a Friday. And I won't have to wait for it. In fact much of York Pennsylvania got behind the Chinese they believe that they would be persecuted if they were sent home to China. The men spent their time making paper sculptures tiny scraps of paper folded or unfolded again into works of art. In some cases clear vision of freedom in America this is one that was actually send to us. And images of the China they had left behind. All of this with Beverly church's help ended up in a traveling art show. These got a lot of America. And Beverly church lobby and she lobbied for the man's release and for the women has been sent to separate prisons where he talked to anyone who would listen. She spoke often of her grandfather who came here for -- And I can remember my grandfather this wonderful stories about when he landed here. I also. Thought of my grandfather being in that -- This week Beverly church went to the York county prison for the last time the last of the Chinese men were sent free. Some or maybe even all may be sent back to China eventually. They are not completely free yet but while they wait they will stay with area families with whom they become close to Beverly church. Is closest of all. He wants so much to take the guys to see the statue of liberty. And I also wanted to know that all people will be welcome because this is America. And so we choose the Beverly -- church to be there every step of the way as the immigration courts take up the cases of her men. If she calls them.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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