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Mainers Hold 'Playdate' Protest Outside Sen. Collins Office

Julie Pike
Maine Public

Protestors crowded into Sen. Susan Collins' office in Portland Wednesday to speak out against the treatment of migrants in detention camps along the southern U.S. border.

Mainers for Accountable Leadership organized the "playdate" protest. Parents brought their children and toys into Collins's office to recreate the conditions of children being kept in small spaces at the detention centers. This was part of a national protest. Across the country, concerned mothers and their children stood outside of congressional buildings, detention centers and ICE offices for similar “playdate protests.”

Ashley McCurry of Portland brought her two-year-old daughter Kennedy. McCurry says that Collins should be doing more in Congress to fight to close the migrant camps.

"I would have fought just as hard to give her a better life as those parents did, in fact, they're braver than me," McCurry says.

McCurry says she is a first generation American and that all the immigrants she knows have contributed positively to the country.

Around 30 people filed into Collins' Portland office, who was absent at the time. Similar protests were planned at her offices in Bangor, Augusta and Caribou.

Update: Over email, Collins's office issued a statement that said the Senator "Senator Collins has been appalled by reports about the conditions many children have been experiencing in custody at the border, including a lack of basic personal hygiene products like soap and toothpaste, and she has heard from many Mainers who share her concern.  As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, she voted to advance an emergency supplemental appropriations bill to address the border crisis, which passed by an overwhelming, bipartisan majority and was signed into law this week.  The legislation includes billions of dollars for humanitarian assistance and border security that will help improve conditions at detention centers as well as provide safe and appropriate shelter and medical care for children in custody.  Senator Collins believes we need comprehensive immigration reform, a better way of handling asylum claims, more immigration judges, a sensible system for guest workers, and a long-term solution for DREAMers, along with stronger border security."