This Father’s Day, communities throughout the country took a stand for immigrant children who have been separated from their parents under the current administration’s immigration policy.
Marches and protests took place at immigration detention centers throughout the country, and more than a few were led by prominent political figures and leaders, such as Congressmember Beto O’Rourke, who led a protest in Tornillo, Texas along with former El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar.
Other marches took place in the cities of McAllen and Houston, Texas, as well as in New Jersey where a group of Democratic lawmakers attempted to gain entry to an immigrant detention center in the town of Elizabeth.
In McAllen, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the Obama administration Julian Castro attempted to distribute stuffed animals and letters of support to children in the detention center, but no one would come out to take them.
“We can’t forget, despite all the bureaucratic complexity and the flowcharts, this is about children being separated from their families when their families are seeking asylum from persecution abroad.” — Merkley
Earlier this month, Senator Merkley attempted to enter an abandoned Walmart in Brownsville, Texas which is currently being used by the nonprofit Southwest Key Industries to house immigrant children but was denied access and had the cops called on him.
“We talked to one of the moms there, who had been separated from her daughter. The mom and daughter had come from Guatemala. They asked for asylum. But now the mom is being prosecuted as a criminal and will be separated from her daughter. This is a deliberate and inhumane policy. And we’re here to say, to President Trump, “End it. End it today.”” — Van Hollen
In Houston, protesters marched in pouring rain outside a planned detention center for children younger than 12 years old, chanting “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Baby jails have got to go!”
On Friday, Vice President Mike Pence attempted to deliver a speech in Columbus, Ohio, but was consistently interrupted by chants of opposition towards the policy of family separation.
Protesters repeatedly shouted questions like, “Why are you ripping children from their families?” which Pence ignored.
Also on Sunday, an SUV carrying undocumented immigrants crashed during a high speed chase by Border Patrol agents. At least five people have died.
John Moore, a photographer for Getty Images, shared the story behind the photo of a crying two-year-old girl that has gone viral.
“While it’s not uncommon for toddlers to feel separation anxiety, this would have been stressful for any child. I took only a few photographs and was almost overcome with emotion myself.” — Moore
Moore snapped the photo after the mother of the child had to put her down to undergo a body search.
All of this comes on the heels of an Associated Press report which shows that as many as 2,000 children were separated from their parents from April 19 through May 31.
More than 1,000 mental health professionals and organizations have signed an open letter to the administration condemning the policy as unnecessarily traumatic and inhumane.
Iron Triangle Press will continue to follow this story.