For the third time this month, Long Islanders on July 27 joined hands in Huntington to protest the mistreatment of immigrant children and families at the United States border with Mexico.
“This is not who we are,” they chanted and “Never again is now,” a reference to Jewish encampments in Nazi Germany.
Some Long Island federal officials share their concerns. U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) has recently expressed outrage after returning from detention centers in McAllen, Texas.
Protesters called their rally “Don’t Look Away.” It was the eighth rally held in Huntington since people learned one year ago that the government was separating families at the border. It was sponsored and co-sponsored by 50 different organizations related to immigration rights, human rights, and pediatric and activist groups.
Federal lawmakers passed June 24 a $4.5 million emergency bill to address the migrant crisis. Despite the funding, Alethea Shapiro, one of the protesters, said that she is concerned that the bill that passed was strong on enforcement with less funds going toward humanitarian aid as prescribed in the U.S. House of Representatives’ original version of the bill.
Shapiro was one of several women who have just returned from a humanitarian mission to El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico, where some immigrants were transferred.
The women said that they offered supplies such as shoes, underwear and backpacks to immigrants, who were grateful.
The protesters adopted the theme “Don’t Look Away” for their latest campaign. Their rally comes in the wake of recent rules and bills that aim to address the crisis. The Trump administration recently posted a rule denying asylum to migrants that failed to seek asylum in the first foreign land they encountered when fleeing their homeland. District courts have now put the brakes on those limits until further review.
The U.S. Senate is considering a bill H.R. 2615 The U.S. Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act. If passed, the law would authorize economic aid and fight corruption in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, the homeland of many migrants.
“It’s important for us to create continuous awareness of this humanitarian crisis happening at our southern borders,” said Suffolk County Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport). “We cannot rest until every child is safe, treated with dignity and provided basic necessities such as food, sanitary conditions and health care.”