By Aida Chavez
March 21, 2017
Sen. Bernie Sanders joined an immigration rally outside the U.S. Customs and Border Protection offices in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.
Joined at the event by Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), Sanders blasted President Trump and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants.
“Stop picking on the poor, stop picking on the undocumented,” he said.
“President Trump thinks he’s a tough guy because he’s taken on farm workers who make nine or 10 bucks an hour,” Sanders added.
“He’s a tough guy because he can throw moms and dads out of this country. Well I say to Mr. Trump, if you’re such a tough guy, why don’t you take on the insurance companies and drug companies and Wall Street.”
Hundreds marched to the offices of the agency in a rally organized by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), a coalition of grassroots organizations fighting for immigrants’ rights.
Under the Trump administration, federal officials have aggressively stepped up their immigration enforcement, expanding raids and ramping up prosecutions and deportations of undocumented immigrants.
Sanders renewed calls for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform with a path toward citizenship.
Meng spoke about the personal toll of the administration’s policies, mentioning families who have been separated from children for days and saying that many had not been given access to a lawyer.
“We have seen way too many cases of taxpayers’ money being used to separate, tearing our families apart,” she said. “We have seen too many instances of our tax payers money being used to violate our civil rights.”
Demonstrators chanted phrases like “Si Se Puede” and others directed at DHS Secretary Kelly.
Before wrapping up the rally, a FIRM advocate told the crowd to be loud and started the chant: “John Kelly, escucha. Estamos en la lucha,” which roughly translates to “John Kelly, listen. We are in the fight.”
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