“I put my body on the line yesterday [Aug 2] out of my own experiences. My family has been affected by immigration policy and I grew up with the consequences of that hanging over my head. As I grew, I heard so many stories in my community of the impacts of fear, discrimination and missing deported family members. I became a teacher in the Denver public schools. Now I have students who tell me about their fathers being deported. The impact on my students is disastrous and long-lasting,” said Daniel, a participant in last week’s protest at ICE headquarters.
Coloradans gathered last week in a 24-hour vigil in front of ICE headquarters in Colorado to demand – dignity, respect and human rights by insisting Congress and the administration immediately reunify separated families; end family detention and Trump’s Zero Tolerance policy; provide appropriate clothing, sufficient food, access to medical and mental health care at ICE’s for-profit GEO detention center in Aurora; and vote against any increases in these agencies budgets.
“This Administration’s agenda is clear; to inflict as much harm as possible on the next generation by depriving them of their parents,” said Jeanette Vizguerra, community leader “The Administration relentlessly pursues more resources and relies on Congressional inaction, while our children continue to be traumatized by separation at the border and the interior.”
On July 30th at dawn, immigrants and local organizations began a weeklong 24-hour vigil in front of the Colorado Field Office of Immigration and Custom Enforcement that ended August 2nd. The encampment community varied between forty and two hundred people at any given moment.
Last Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held its first hearing with leaders from five federal agencies complicit in taking children from their parents. None of the officials testifying claimed the zero-tolerance policy is a success. Over 600 children and their parents are still separated. Despite this neither house in Congress has moved a bill out of committee to keep the Administration from re-engaging in this policy. Meanwhile appropriations bills slated to increase budgets to ICE and Border Patrol move forward.
On August 2nd, as eight individuals chained themselves together to block the exits and entrances to ICE’s Colorado Field Office, the Administration attempted to shed responsibility for reuniting children, now institutionalized and without parents, stating that non-profits are responsible to clean up the impacts of their policy.
All eight people were ticketed and released. They will face court at a date yet to be determined.
“I engaged in civil disobedience yesterday [Aug 2] in solidarity with all the immigrant children traumatized when our government ripped them away from their parents,” said Julie Bañuelos last week. “ICE and Border Patrol lack the moral clarity to see that this policy was violent and inhuman. They followed orders. I stayed all week in the encampment for the 634 children not yet reunited with their families even as the administration upholds these policies. I took action for our brothers and sisters fleeing their homelands, in part due to the U.S. government’s greedy and corrupt interventions exploit their countries resources. I will continue to challenge these policies because I know that an injustice done to one person is an injustice done to all of us.”
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