Child Separations At Border Spark Protest Rally In Portland

Jun 25, 2018

More than one hundred people filled Lobsterman's Park in Portland at noon Monday to protest the Trump administration's migrant family separation policy and demand action from Maine's congressional delegation.

Cellie Reegan showed up to let Congress know that she opposes family separation, indefinite incarceration, restricting legal immigration and abandoning asylum seekers.

“As my sign here says, I’m the proud granddaughter of immigrants," Reegan said. "My grandparents came here with nothing and I empathize with the people who are fleeing their countries.”

Zack De La Rouda of Portland helped organize the event and lead protesters in chants. De La Rouda said that he wanted to bring people together because of what he calls the "visible, serious trauma" the policy has brought innocent children and their parents.

"Everything that the Trump administration is doing is offensive to me, but the true inhumanity of this practice, and the fact that he was going to use it as a bargaining chip to get the border wall seems really disgusting."

Kara Kralik was among the crowd and said she wants to see more pressure against the Trump administration's immigration policies.

"Migrants who are just trying to come here to have a better life because they're fleeing violence, gang violence, domestic violence or state violence in their home countries, and they're being met with even more violence from our state,” Kralik said. “And I think it is inexcusable. I'm glad to see so many people out here raising their voices about it."

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Zak Ringelstein also joined the crowd of protesters. Ringelstein was jailed briefly last week after driving to a border detention facility in Texas. He was carrying blankets and toys for children in the camps and refused border agents' requests to leave.

“There is a system that is inhumane that is a human rights crisis and we need to, as Americans, say who we really are,” Ringelstein said.

Since May, more than 2,300 children have been separated from their parents. The U.S. House of Representatives will vote this week on two Republican-sponsored immigration bills addressing family separations, the status of young people who came to the U.S. illegally as children and funds for a border wall.

Last week, President Trump told GOP lawmakers they "should stop wasting their time on Immigration" until after the midterm elections in November. On Sunday, he proposed eliminating due process for immigrants crossing the border illegally.

Another rally against the Trump administration's immigration policies is planned for June 30 at Portland City Hall.

Additional reporting by interns Lucia Helder and Celie Deagle.