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Standing Vigil for Children in ICE Detention During National ‘Lights for Liberty’

5:42 PM PDT on July 12, 2019

[dropcap size=big]M[/dropcap]igrants seeking asylum in the United States continue dying in detention centers. Children continue locked up, like criminals, ripped from their families. Newborns are still being taken from their mothers. The “hieleras” remain. And the Trump administration continues to flout U.S. and international law with systematic human rights violations that tear at anyone’s sense of decency.

This weekend the fear and division was heightened with yet another threat of immigration raids. We’ve been here before, and know how quickly it can turn into smoke and mirrors. The intended effect is purely political. A few hundred swept up in a weekend wave will do nothing to solve the problems associated with the 10.5 million people living in the shadow of the law.

Even Nancy Pelosi stood up and read the now-standard "Don't open the door for ICE" message, which sounded almost like mocking from the only lady who could immediately do a few more things about the horror, with a mere flick of her gavel.

But since the days of Operation Gatekeeper, the U.S. immigration enforcement apparatus under both Democratic and Republican administrations has been successfully weaponized to terrorize brown and immigrant communities. Many argue that’s what this is really about. The other big news of the week offered a reminder.

Los Angeles is the most immigrant of all immigrant cities. Community members frequently rally and show their solidarity at places like MacArthur Park, one of several key public parks that have become inextricably linked to the immigrant rights movement.

A rally for families at MacArthur Park, July 2018 (Photo by Nathan Solis/LA Taco archive).

[dropcap size=big]O[/dropcap]n Friday night, Casey Revkin, who leads the L.A. chapter of Immigrant Families Together, rallied with children and activists to denounce family separation outside the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown, site of numerous anti-enforcement actions already.

Revkin is part of a network of people who pool funds to help migrants who bond out of detention. In most instances they have no resources and need to reunite with their families while they wait for a hearing. The volunteers all scramble in myriad ways to help the bonded-out. Revkin recently hosted a man from Honduras, released from Adelanto, who needed a place to stay while waiting for a flight to Texas to be with family. 

"Here was one man I hosted, who just sat at my table and cried," Revkin told L.A. Taco in an interview on Friday. "He’d been in detention for ten-and-a-half months, and he said he didn’t know there were Americans who cared. And he just sat there. ... I told him there were so Americans who cared, who felt that the way he's been treated is wrong, who would welcome him as a neighbor."

RELATED: This Is Retaliation ~ Immigrants Rights Lawyer Denied Reentry into Mexico

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