Over 200 protesters swarmed the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Portland, Oregon, on Monday evening, and more are expected to join throughout the upcoming weeks to protest President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance policy.”
The policy, which separates migrant parents from their children when they attempt to cross the U.S. border illegally, has been a source of mounting debate and contention on both sides of the aisle. Lawmakers continue to spar over how to control illegal immigrants from entering the U.S. GOP lawmakers have repeatedly blamed Congress’ inaction for the immigration crisis, a point that has been discredited repeatedly by many mainstream news organizations. (RELATED: Laura Bush Slams Trump’s Migration Policy)
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) fully respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion without interference. ICE remains committed to sensible, effective immigration enforcement consistent with federal law and agency policy,” an ICE spokesperson told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen defended the zero tolerance policy in Monday’s White House press briefing. “We need Congress to fully fund our ability to hold families together through the immigration process. And until these loopholes are closed by Congress, it is not possible as a matter of law to detain and remove whole family units who arrive illegally in the United States,” she said.
“We believe this is an immoral act from this administration,” Juan Rogel, an organizer of the protest who does not agree with the practice of separating children from parents told KATU 2, a local Portland news channel.
Immigrants spoke out during the rally, hiding their faces out of fear, and relaying stories of being detained and separated from their children in 2016 as ICE agents carried out raids and arrests against illegal immigrants in America under former President Barack Obama’s administration
“This cannot continue,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a speech to the National Sheriffs’ Association in New Orleans on Monday in defense of the policy. “We do not want to separate children from their parents. We do not want adults to bring children into this country unlawfully, placing them at risk.”
Sessions and Nielsen hold firm that the Department of Homeland Security will continue to detain and separate family units until Congress can come to a consensus on immigration reform.
“As long as illegal entry remains a criminal offense, DHS will not look the other way. DHS will faithfully execute the laws enacted by Congress,” Nielsen said on Monday.
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