On Capitol Hill, children donned emergency thermal blankets similar to ones handed out at border detention centers and used cages as part of a protest against the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy on immigration.
The Trump administration’s policy has led to over 2,300 children separated from their families after illegally crossing the border into the United States and sent to detention facilities under government care. Trump on Wednesday reversed his debunked argument that he had no authority to stop separations, signing an executive order to keep parents and kids together. Even with Trump’s order, the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on immigration-related legislation later Thursday to address – among other issues – family separation.
The dozen or so children wrapped themselves in the foil-like blankets and sat among small cages in the middle of the Russell Senate building rotunda on Thursday.
The demonstration was organized by LA RED (Liberation, Action, Respect, Equity, Dignity) and immigration justice program of the international network of faith-based groups and congregations, Faith In Action.
The organization’s director Richard Morales and his 10-year-old son led others in protesting the “cruel treatment of immigrants by the Trump administration.”
Religious leaders delivered fiery speeches, criticizing Trump’s executive order. The crowd also sang prayer songs and chanted, “Shame. Shame. Shame.”
One of the protestors, Nan Collie, brought her 9-year-old granddaughter, Sawyer, one of the children wrapped in blankets sitting among cages in the middle of the rotunda.
“The thought of any children in cages breaks my heart,” Collie said, choking up with emotion with her granddaughter by her side. “It was really powerful for us to be here today together to make that statement.”
Deborah Bollmer, a protester from Chevy Chase, Maryland told CNN that Trump’s executive order he signed Wednesday does not solve anything, but “in a way it actually compounds it.”
Faith In Action is planning similar protests this weekend at the US-Mexico border.