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Thousands march to end family separation

  • Published in Local

Thousands marched on D.C. to protest the Trump administration policy of separating immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border. PHOTO BY NICKOLAI SUKHAREVThousands marched on D.C. to protest the Trump administration policy of separating immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border. PHOTO BY NICKOLAI SUKHAREV  WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tens of thousands of protesters descended on the nation’s capital Saturday for the Families Belong Together March, chanting “Save Our Children” and objecting to President Trump’s family separation policy for immigrant parents.

“We’ve seen the state of our nation and decided we must take action,” said Jordon Dyrdahl-Roberts, one of many speakers at the event. “Life is about making choices … we face a million choices every day, but some choices are just daunting.”

Speaking from a stage at Lafayette Square, Dyrdahl-Roberts, a former employee with the Montana Department of Labor, explained that he resigned from his job in February when instructed to pass along information to Immigration and Customs Enforcement that would “be used to deport people,” adding that he “couldn’t do it and live with [himself],” and “just follow orders.”

In April 2018, the Trump administration implemented a “zero tolerance” policy for migrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, directing ICE and Customs and Border Protection officers to separate children if the detainees are parents. On June 20, Trump signed an executive order suspending the policy, and a federal court halted the practice through a nationwide injunction on June 26.

Amid concerns of continued separation of parents from children at the border and wanting to reunite families, the ACLU, MoveOn, National Domestic Workers Alliance, and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights organized the March, which drew an estimated 30,000 attendees.

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Van Hollen back from trip to U.S. Border detention centers

  • Published in News

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)  FILE PHOTOSen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)            FILE PHOTO  Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) spent Father’s Day in Texas, visiting a border patrol processing center and two detention centers, to see firsthand what was happening to families crossing from Mexico into the United States.

He spoke with a woman from Guatemala who did not know where her 12-year-old daughter was and other women whose children had been moved to facilities in New York and Florida.

Not only are children being separated from their parents, but brothers and sisters are also separated from each other, as the detention facilities are not co-ed, he said.

Van Hollen traveled with Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Or.). They were prohibited by Homeland Security from taking photos and talking with anyone besides those who had been approved, he said.

Listening to the mothers’ anguish and seeing children age 10 and older lying down, all covered in the same shiny silver blankets that often are used by marathoners after they finish their race, was “gut-wrenching,” he said.

“This trip confirmed my worst fears about what was happening. It was even worse than I thought.”

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