·  by Dennis Barker, SOAR Chapter 7-34-2 Vice President

District 7 SOAR Rallies to Keep Families Together

On July 2, USW District 7 SOAR members, joined by the United Congregations of the Metro East (UCM) and other community allies, participated in a "Keep Families Together” demonstration outside of Congressman Mike Bost's (IL-12) office.

The purpose of the "Keep Families Together" rally was to call upon Congressman Bost to join the chorus of voices against a new "zero tolerance" policy being implemented by the current administration under the Department of Health and Human Services. Under this new policy, every migrant who entered the United States, without authorization, would be criminally prosecuted, even if no other crime had been committed.

This resulted in approximately 3,000 immigrant children being separated from their parents, while seeking asylum from gang violence and poverty in Central America and elsewhere. Labor unions, civil/immigrant rights groups, congregations, public health advocates, and Republican and Democratic legislators alike, cited concerns with humanitarian, public health, legal and logistical realities of continuing to separate immigrant children from their parents.

Prior to the administration's "zero tolerance" policy, migrant families were detained together, sent back immediately, or paroled into the United States - never separated.

Reluctantly, the president signed an Executive Order on June 20 to modify the implementation of the “zero tolerance” policy, so that families can be detained indefinitely, as opposed to separating children from their parents.

While the administration saw this action as a compromise, there continues to be public outcry over the continuation of “zero tolerance” approach to asylum seekers, as well as the administration’s failure to successfully reunite separated children with their parents.

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