The audio of crying detained children sent a powerful message to the Homeland Security administrator.
While the fate of children detained at the U.S.-Mexico border ultimately lies in the hands of Congress, House Republicans have fumbled their latest attempt to pass immigration reform. After a more conservative immigration bill failed on June 21, the House has pushed a vote on a “compromise” bill, originally scheduled for June 22, to the last week of the month.
If passed, the bill would allow children to be detained along with their parents in facilities provided by the Department of Homeland Security while going through criminal proceedings. Although the bill would keep families together, it also appropriates $25 billion for President Donald Trump’s long-promised border wall (not to mention, detaining families is still inhumane). In addition, the Navy has been preparing plans to construct sprawling detention centers for tens of thousands of immigrants on remote bases in California, Alabama, and Arizona.
The House GOP’s latest stumble comes amid protests against Trump’s “zero-tolerance” border policies.
Photo courtesy of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action
On June 22, Protestors gathered in front of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s townhouse in Alexandria, Virginia. Nielsen has been a vocal supporter of the president’s forced-separation policy.
The demonstrators chanted “child snatcher” over megaphones and played an audio clip of crying children separated from their families at the U.S. border.
Protestors are outside of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s Alexandria townhouse, playing audio of the detained children. She appears to be still be home. pic.twitter.com/akIcxOcM3q— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) June 22, 2018\n
Protesters caught Nielsen leaving her home, pillorying her with chants of “shame” and calling her a “modern-day Nazi.”
Antipathy to the policy’s architects
Nielsen isn’t the only Trump official being followed by protestors.
Stephen Miller, Trump’s policy advisor and avid supporter-slash-probable-creator of the child-separation policy, was heckled and called a fascist while dining at Espita Mezcaleria, a Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C.
“Hey, look, guys, whoever thought we’d be in a restaurant with a real-life fascist begging [for] money for new cages?” a diner snarled at Miller, according to the New York Post. Witnesses said Miller scurried away without responding.
Amid the aggressive conflict inspired by Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy, many people have been quietly giving to charities to help families who’ve been separated at the border.
Dave and Charlotte Willner started a Facebook fundraising campaign to raise money for The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), the largest immigration legal services provider in Texas, and it’s been a big success — in just one week, it has raised over $18 million in donations.
“It is fabulous,” Jenny Hixon, director of education, outreach, and development at RAICES, told Today. “The Willners seem as surprised as we are ... We can’t thank them enough for their incredible kindness.”
Trump’s cruel treatment of families at the U.S. border may have marred even further America’s moral standing in the world, but it has also inspired incredible acts of bravery, generosity, and commitment that speak volumes about the nation’s true character.