Detroiters rally to reunite immigrant families

As Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Separates Families at the Southern Border,
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Tears Them Apart in the North

Clark Park, the centerpiece of a vibrant immigrant community in Southwest Detroit, was the scene of the “Melt the ICE” rally on Saturday, June 30th. Michigan United, a statewide community organization that for years has been fighting for comprehensive immigration reform, brought together a coalition of area organizations to create an event that drew over a thousand people in one hundred degree weather. It was just one of hundreds of public demonstrations across the nation set off in reaction to President Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” policy that separated children from their parents as they attempted to cross the southern border. Although such pressure has forced Trump to end the practice, there are still thousands of children in detention with no system to reunite them with their families.

“What’s worse is we don’t know where girls are being housed, the conditions under which they are residing after being torn from their parent’s arms,” said Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI 12). “And we don’t know how they are being protected, supported, or plans for reunification. These are children and it’s our job to protect them.”

Rep. Dingell was just one of the community leaders addressing the crowd from the Clark Park stage.  Fayrouz Saad, the former Detroit Director of Immigration Affairs said, “We’re out to send a very clear message to Sessions and Trump, this is just wrong.”  While UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada said, “Our workers cannot be safe and thrive while we have a federal entity dedicated to tearing apart families and exiling them from our shores.”

“This administration wants to deny a fair trial to immigrants of various backgrounds,” said DACA recipient, Juan Gonzalez. “Our Constitution assures due process for all people regardless of color, religion, or where you come from.” Gonzalez currently enjoys the protection from arbitrary deportation under DACA, but the Obama-era executive order is in jeopardy with congress unwilling to legislate any immigration reform to address the question of undocumented immigrants, like Juan, who were brought here as children.

Trump has implemented his “Muslim Ban”. Imam Mika’il Saadiq, Outreach Director of the Michigan Muslim Community Council said, “Our administration pulling out of the Human Rights council, building a wall, calling immigrants animals, sends a message that if you’re non-white and not American, your life has no value.”

“In times like these, we need to remember that as a community, we are just as strong, as healthy, as decent as the weakest one of us,” said Seydi Sarr, Executive Director of ABISA. “Our families cannot pretend to achieve any sort of success while we stand around and witness the most vulnerable amongst bullied at the hands of our own government.”