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San Diegans Call for Stop to ICE Family Separations

June 1, 2018

By Marielena Castellanos

Dozens of San Diegans stood together at the entrance of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building downtown for a rally to demand an end to family separation.

The rally was held in response to recent efforts by the Trump administration to increase criminal prosecutions of people crossing the border illegally.

Just a few weeks ago, Attorney General Jeff Sessions came to San Diego to hold a press conference at the border where he announced a new zero-tolerance immigration policy.

During the press conference, Sessions said those caught crossing into the United States illegally would be prosecuted, leading to the separation of parents and their children.

The way current policies now stand, children entering the U.S. with their parents illegally would be placed under the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement while their criminal cases are processed. They would not remain with their parents.

Bardis Vakili, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the national organization and the San Diego chapter filed a lawsuit against the administration in February on behalf of asylum seekers who had their children taken from them.

A federal judge will likely rule on the case in the coming weeks.

Today’s rally in San Diego was part of a national effort organized by the ACLU, and thousands were expected to participate in similar events across the country.

Suzanne Metheny, a resident of Encinitas explained her motivation for attending the rally.

“I think it’s important that we don’t let the moment slip away, and that we acknowledge how atrocious it is that these children are being snatched from their parents, how heartbreaking it would feel to anybody. It’s just the wrong thing to do,” Metheny said.

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