LANSING - On July 12th, hundreds gathered at Michigan’s Capitol to protest the treatment of migrant children at the border.
Rally Coordinator Lorenzo Lopez said that the purpose of this rally was to give a voice to the voiceless.
“We want everyone to stand up and be heard and put an end to the concentration camps,” he said. “So that when the world views us, they view us as a generous and giving people.”
Rally Coordinator Ethan Schmitt also said that he wants the world to know that this treatment of immigrants is not what defines Americans.
“What the politicians are doing, what ICE is doing, does not represent who we are and what we believe,” he said. “This is a small extreme minority that continues to overthrow what the majority really wants."
The rally featured speakers like Mary Hanna who recounted what she saw first hand at a human detention camp when she visited the border with the Meta Peace Team.
She said that men, women and children would all be separated, given a foil blanket and held in underground bunkers for an unknown period of time. Hanna recalled that parents would be given black permanent markers and told to write all of their contact information on their child’s skin to increase the chance of reconnecting with them once the process was over.
She also compared today’s immigrant processing to the processing that occurred back in 1812 at Ellis Island. “Ellis Island processed 5000 people a day and they’re doing five at the Tijuana port,” said Hanna.
Rosario Molina had a personal reason for rallying at the protest. Her father, who is now a citizen, had immigrated to America from El Savador.
“They were actually drafting kids into the military at thirteen so around when he was thirteen, his family brought him over here so he wouldn’t be but a lot of his family wasn’t so lucky,” said Molina.
Daniel Segalman also felt a personal connection to the protest. His grandmother came to the United States as a refugee from Poland.
“Everybody who hadn’t immigrated to the states were killed by Nazis,” he said.
Segalman said that some places are so bad, that the world needs to make room for more people.
The evening ended with the crowd standing hand in hand honoring the seven migrant children who have died in border patrol custody.
Rally speakers urged protesters to take action on this issue by calling their senators and congressmen as well as registering to vote.
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