WILMINGTON—More than 150 people are expected to gather outside of Congressman David Rouzer’s office Wednesday to protest the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” border control policy.
Organized by the online progressive group Suit Up Wilmington, the rally coincides with an online letter that has garnered over 400 signatures.
Keep Families Together Act
The online letter, “Keeping Families Together,” is directed to North Carolina Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis. Written by Dr. Jessica Cannon, the letter asks Burr and Tillis to join in sponsoring Senate Bill 3036 that will introduce the Keep Families Together Act to Congress.
The bill was drafted as a response to “zero-tolerance” immigration policy for illegal entry, announced by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in April.
“We’re giving a courtesy copy to Congressman Rouzer,” Cannon said. “If the public can make our voices heard, we are hoping our elected officials will act.”
Cannon’s letter has made rounds online, but she said Suit Up Wilmington has not directly heard from any of North Carolina’s elected officials in response to the group’s opposition of the Trump administration’s immigration policy.
Rouzer did not address specific legislation – there are several bills currently in Congress – but did issue a statement on the current border situation.
“I share the concern of many who are troubled that children are being separated from their families at our southern border. Our nation’s immigration laws must be reformed, and loopholes in current law closed, so that we can have a secure border, deter illegal immigration, and ensure that families remain together. This week, the House is scheduled to vote on legislation to address all of these issues after months of work to craft legislative language that can pass in the House. It is my hope that the House and Senate will ultimately produce a bicameral bill with meaningful reforms that can be sent to the President for his signature. Time is of the essence,” Rouzer said.
According to a U.S. Department of Justice release, the new immigration policy was adopted to combat an increase in illegal border crossings, up 203 percent from March 2017 to March 2018.
The policy directed U.S. Attorney’s Offices in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas to prosecute illegal entry violations. This policy has resulted in the separation of families, with minor children being kept in detention facilities along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Local faith leaders, attorneys and political activists will gather at 230 Government Center Drive at noon Wednesday.
Speakers scheduled to address protesters include Rabbi Julie Kozlow, University of North Carolina Wilmington Professor Sylvia Santaballa, immigration attorney Vanessa Gonzales, retired Protestant minister Bill Cottingham and Suit Up Wilmington co-founder Cassidy Lamb.
An additional protest, Familias Unidas, is scheduled to take place at 5 p.m. on the corner of 3rd and Princess Streets in downtown Wilmington.
For more information on Suit Up Wilmington’s upcoming protest, visit the event’s Facebook page.
Send tips to Johanna Ferebee at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow Johanna on Twitter @j__ferebee