Here outside U.S. Customs & Border Protection with @RepSchakowsky, @RepJudyChu, @repjohnlewis, @RepGutierrez, @repjoecrowley, @RepEspaillat, @RepAlGreen, @popdemoc & faith leaders to send a message to @realDonaldTrump:— Rep. Jimmy Gomez (@RepJimmyGomez) June 13, 2018
End your #FamilySeparation policies!
Stop the deportations! pic.twitter.com/NDK4msHgqz
As the Trump administration continues its indiscriminate crackdown on immigrants by ripping families apart and housing children into questionable detention centers, a group of Democratic lawmakers marched to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) building in Washington, D.C., to protest the deplorable “zero tolerance” policy.
Several members of Congress, along with dozens of other people, temporarily blocked an entrance to the Ronald Reagan Building housing the CBP headquarters. They marched towards the building chanting “Bring our babies back” before seating themselves on the steps.
The group said they were calling for the release of asylum seekers and their children who were separated from each other under Attorney General Jeff Sessions draconian measure.
The protesters included civil rights icon and longtime Georgia Rep. John Lewis (D), Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), Rep. Al Green (D-TX), and Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).
Rep. Adriano Espaillat of New York, the first former undocumented immigrant to serve in Congress, also attended the march.
To document the protest, many lawmakers took to Twitter to post updates of their moves.
DHS will arrest children, but when Members of Congress commit civil disobedience they watched silently. Shame! So we are taking our protest directly to Donald Trump. Next stop the White House. pic.twitter.com/66Q0RrJYKz— Judy Chu (@RepJudyChu) June 13, 2018
We’ve shutdown the streets around the @WhiteHouse. More police are on the scene. The street is ours!— Rep. Jimmy Gomez (@RepJimmyGomez) June 13, 2018
And we’re not going anywhere.@realDonaldTrump: We’re right outside. Your inhumane family separation policies must end NOW!
Stop the deportations!#FamiliesBelongTogetherpic.twitter.com/BxOA9pA2Kr
HAPPENING NOW: Many members of congress including John Lewis, Joe Crowley, Judy Chu, Jimmy Gomez, & Espaillat, risking arrest calling to #EndFamilySeparation because #FamiliesBelongTogetherpic.twitter.com/s302ELKZu2— Alida Garcia (@leedsgarcia) June 13, 2018
“DHS will arrest children, but when Members of Congress commit civil disobedience they watched silently. Shame! So we are taking our protest directly to Donald Trump. Next stop the White House,” Chu tweeted.
Neither the protesters nor the lawmakers were taken into custody.
The group ditched its initial plans to march to the White House and instead linked arms while standing or sitting on the street in an attempt to block it.
The California Democrat tweeted the group of protesters had “shutdown Pennsylvania Ave.”
“Protesters…say they’re going to stay here until they get arrested,” reported Vox’s Ella Nilsen.
Protester are literally sitting in the street, say they’re going to stay here until they get arrested. pic.twitter.com/3GckkjeAYj— Ella Nilsen (@ella_nilsen) June 13, 2018
According to Spectrum News correspondent Jeevan Vittal, the protest was called off due to “safety reasons.” He also reported Rep. Joe Crowley collapsed due to possible heat exhaustion.
The protest came a day after McClatchy reported the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was considering several Texas military bases as sites for tent cities to house thousands of immigrant children who were forcibly separated from their parents.
Moreover, just recently, a first group of journalists was allowed to enter a shelter for detained child migrants in Brownsville, Texas. According to MSNBC’s correspondent Jacob Soboroff, the children were not in a shelter but were “incarcerated.”
The Democrats coming out on the streets to raise voice against the plight of detained immigrant families provided some relief that under Donald Trump’s presidency not everyone is devoid of human decency.
Banner / Thumbnail : REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque