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Immigrant Advocates in CLE Protest Homeland Security's Family Separation Policy

The ACLU of Ohio is joining immigrant advocacy groups around the country to call for the end of a Trump administration policy that separates some children from their parents when they’re detained trying to cross the U.S./Mexico border illegally.

The group held a rally outside the federal courthouse in downtown Cleveland on Friday, drawing about 70 people, many of whom carried handmade signs bearing the hashtag #FamiliesBelongTogether.

It was one of dozens of similar protests held in cities around the country on Friday, dubbed a “National Day of Action for Children,” by a coalition of advocacy groups that included not only the ACLU, but also the National Domestic Workers Alliance, MomsRising, United We Dream, and MoveOn.

“I’m angry that it’s happening under my watch,” said Reverend Chris Long, a minister at a church in Rocky River, who was one of the featured speakers at the event. “I’m dissatisfied that we’re hardly making any noise, and this is our chance to rise up and stand for morality and right.”

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Reverend Chris Long, a minister at a church in Rocky River, speaking to a crowd outside the federal courthouse in downtown Cleveland. [Adrian Ma / ideastream]

J. Bennett Guess, Executive Director of the ACLU of Ohio, said that their goal is to send a message to the federal government: “When they do these things, they are not acting in our name as U.S. citizens,” said Guess. 

“There is a very large swath of our country that believe in the Constitution, that believe in the Bill of Rights, that believe in due process, and that everyone should be treated fairly,” he said.

The national ACLU is suing the Trump administration, arguing the policy of separating families is illegal and hurts those who are seeking asylum. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has defended the practice, saying it helps deter people from attempting to come to the U.S. illegally.

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