Video and Story by Ford Fischer
Photos by Alejandro Alvarez

Activists including dozens of children and clergy gathered Thursday morning in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building to protest what they call “the cruel treatment of immigrants by the Trump Administration.”

The action was organized by LA RED  (Liberation, Action, Respect, Equity, Dignity). Other groups involved included Faith in Action, DMV Sanctuary Congregation Network, Franciscan Action Network, National Domestic workers Alliance, Moms Rising, and We Belong Together.

Dozens of children sat next to dog cages and wore Mylar survival blankets to mimic the conditions faced by detained immigrant children.

LA Red director Richard Morales told News2Share that he organized the event because, “We are outraged by the Trump administration’s policy of zero tolerance, which is leading to the family separation. It is also leading to mass incarceration and the long term detention of immigrant families.”

“We are here today to ask congress to pressure the administration to do everything in their power to make sure families are not only together, but free.”

“I think the worst thing you can do to a child, as an immigrant, is to separate them from their families,” added Lorenzo Morales, Richard’s ten-year-old son.

Richard Morales also told News2Share that Trump’s executive order to keep families together doesn’t go far enough. “It’s not sufficient. What he needs to do is end the zero-tolerance policy,” he said. He explained that if convicted of entering the country illegally, a migrant family would still be separated.

Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies of All Souls Church Unitarian explained that he found comments by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the subject to be a travesty.

“It’s really just so untruthful to sort of turn to the bible to justify this cruel treatment of children. It couldn’t be further from Jesus’s message,” he told News2Share.

The action lasted about 20 minutes total before police shut it down. The group backed down and retreated outside after being given three warnings by Capitol Police. The activists also said they planned to deliver letters to members of congress later in the day.

Faith In Action plans to hold similar demonstrations this weekend at the U.S.-Mexico border.

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