MILFORD - At the corners of Broad and Hartford Streets in Milford June 30, a crowd assembled to express their thoughts on the recent management of immigration issues in the country.
Across the nation on that day, many rallied for this issue, but in Milford people traveled from near and afar because they wanted to take part in the day that Mya Starcevic said was happening because of the “misunderstanding of what truth is” since simply, “families belong together.” All other details aside, Starcevic feels “its not that complicated” because seeking asylum in the United States isn’t a crime and so, people are being criminalized for trying to find “better ways for themselves.”
Led by the Delaware Valley Democratic Club, Chairman Jay Tucker said with over 200 participants, it was the largest protest to occur in Milford because people were rising up and resisting things happening in the government. With multiple protests happening in recent times, Tucker feels they make a difference because President Trump had already “reneged on his zero-tolerance policy” and so, the protests will continue to have an effect.
Congressman Matt Cartwright was on the campaign trail and stopped by Milford, where he spoke with many participating in the protest. To address the immigration issues, he said first, comprehensive immigration reform is needed in the United States. To date, he has “supported a tough but fair path to citizenship.” While he supports fines for people breaking laws, Cartwright said he opposes “putting people on boxcars and deporting them” because “we don’t do that in America.” Instead, he supports those who come to America seeking work and making them taxpayers so they will “pay into social security and Medicare” since “we need their help.” With various proposals presently in congress for reuniting children with their families, Cartwright said he is studying them, but he hadn’t decided which to support.
To the public, Cartwright said comprehensive immigration reform is needed to fix “everything in a unified way across the United States.” Change isn’t happening, because of the “dysfunctional congress now.” For change to occur, people must vote, so they make their voices heard since their “voices do matter” he said.
Milford Mayor Sean Strub echoed Cartwright in that comprehensive reform is needed, so 11 million people would be put on the tax rolls, which would allow for “meaningful revisions to policies of the border.” While people can’t enter the United States illegally, the reality is that people have been in the country for decades, built families and contributed to their communities, so it isn’t in the country’s interest to remove those people. The present situation with children being put in cages, that Strub called “intentional cruelty against children.”
Rochelle Doctor carried a sign stating, “Families Belong Together” because she feels the current presidential administration has been about taking “power” for themselves, while taking it away from people. The creation of “baby jails” made Doctor get involved, because she said the families are just seeking safety, freedom and a better place for their children which is something she believes everyone wants. Having protests, that Doctor wasn’t sure if it would make a difference, but if people unite, especially in November for the midterm elections that can make a difference. Voting is essential and many don’t, which she called “atrocious” because of the people who died for that right.
Dressed as the Statue of Liberty, Linda Peter said everyone is welcome in the United States because years ago when people immigrated to the country, there were no green cards, visas or passports and so, today it has been made “near impossible” for people to get citizenship, especially if they’re a “poor mother from Honduras” who would be unable to afford an attorney to become legal. Such protests, she believes can lead to “awareness” and “compassion” being gained, as well as feelings of outrage because “children don’t belong in cages!” she exclaimed. Instead, “they belong in mother’s arms.”
Ed Gragert from the Delaware Valley Democratic Club said the issues at the border is inhumane and not in accord with “US values.” Families must be reunited quickly and policies that are “destroying families” need to end because “family values are what we’re all about.” This protest attracted more participants he feels, because it is an issue that “touches families” and makes parents think about their children.
Pastor Luana Cook Scott of the Milford United Methodist Church said she was participating as both a citizen and a pastor because she was “demanding better.” She explained that, President Trump’s zero tolerance proclamation happened too quickly and the families being separated wasn’t right since people were just seeking asylum, which isn’t illegal. Instead, because there was no organization to reunite them, Cook Scott said there have to be laws to protect the borders because, “we have to maintain our integrity and be humane.”
Separating families in such a manner, Cook Scott said is “unacceptable.” While policies are necessary, they must be “humane” and others who have knowledge and experience about immigration, should be included in the conversation to address this issue. As a person of faith, Cook Scott said there are “no boundaries, there are no borders.”
People seeking asylum, that Peg Hoover said is not a crime. While she doesn’t have an answer to the immigration issues, Hoover believes there were “good things in place” and although they “weren’t perfect” they could’ve been improved upon. Taking children from their families, that Hoover called an “abomination” that’s not helping anyone. Instead, America’s reputation is being ruined in the world, “because we’re no longer viewed as compassionate people.”
Carrying a sign, “I turn my back on hate,” Valentine Flores was with his wife Gina, who hopes to start a social media craze where people turn their back on hate, while holding a sign stating their thoughts on immigration. Valentine said, people should be creative with their signs and “let the statement do the speaking.” The truth is, Gina said, most Americans are immigrants who are “living on stolen land” because they’re not Native American.
Valentine said the present immigration issues are not a question of “pride and love for country,” instead it’s about a “love for humanity.” Politics today, Gina said is about money and living in a “reality star culture.” That, Valentine added is like a “sports mentality where it’s us against them.” But in fact, Gina feels “we’re all in this together” because everyone is on a “solid ball hurtling through space,” making borders “arbitrary.” So, she wants people to realize that, “we’re all in this together.”
For more information about the Delaware Valley Democratic Club, visit their Facebook page.