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Community Leaders Protest Conditions At Detention Centers On The Border

Spencer Platt
Getty Images
Recently arrived migrant families speak with volunteers at the Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center on June 21, 2018 in McAllen, Texas.

Community leaders and activists will gather at the federal courthouse in downtown Milwaukee Tuesday to protest President Donald Trump’s containment of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. Thousands of asylum-seekers have been held.

Critics accuse the Republican president of separating families and keeping children housed in deplorable conditions. The protesters will participate in a “National Day of Action,” demanding the closure of the facilities.

READ: A Father & Daughter Who Drowned At The Border Put Attention On Immigration

Representatives from about a dozen different groups will speak at the rally outside the federal courthouse. Among them is Elana Kahn of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. She says she wants Trump to show some compassion.

“We need to find empathy for the people who are struggling, the asylum seekers at our southern border. We need to look at them as our children, our parents, our brothers and sisters, and then we need to figure out what kind of policies are right. These camps and the way we are treating these people, separating children from their parents, denying basic humanitarian necessities is unacceptable,” she says.

Kahn says the groups will outline several demands. Those include a fair legal process for the migrants, along with closing the detention centers. Pardeep Kaleka, of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, says he wants to see policies that encourage a path to citizenship.

“How do we go forward as a compassionate society towards immigration and not using separating families as a deterrent to immigration but really having a path toward legal immigration,” he says.

Republican President Trump has defended his policies in recent tweets. He says his hands are tied by policies of the opposing party.

“As a result of Democrat-supported loopholes and our federal laws, most illegal immigrant families and minors from Central America who arrive unlawfully at the border cannot be detained together or removed together, only released. These are crippling loopholes that cause family separation, which we don’t want,” he says.

Trump is expected to sign a $4.6 billion emergency spending bill that Congress passed last week. Much of the money would go to agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services, which have been overwhelmed by the influx of Central American migrants at the border.

A congressional delegation is touring border towns in Texas this week to investigate conditions at the detention centers.

Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.
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