Hundreds of members of religious groups protest Trump immigration policies in Milwaukee

Hundreds of members of faith-based organizations marched Monday outside the Milwaukee office of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to protest against the immigration policies of President Donald Trump’s administration.

Holding signs and banners that read “Classrooms, not cages,” “Abolish ICE” or “Keep families together,” protesters walked and chanted on the sidewalks outside the building.

More than 30 religious leaders and faith-based organizations’ members blocked for nearly half an hour the garage entrances to the building where, organizers said, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement brings arrested immigrants for processing.

Most of the protesters belonged to the United Church of Christ, which is holding its general synod in Milwaukee.

Hundreds of UCC members marched from the Wisconsin Center to the DHS building to express opposition against deportations, the separation of immigrant families, the detention of minors, living conditions at the shelters where immigrant children are held, the separation of children from their parents at the border and what protesters saw as the U.S. failure to grant asylum to those who flee violence.

Traci Blackmon, associate general minister of Justice and Local Church Ministries for the UCC, highlighted the contributions that immigrants have made to the U.S., and said deportations and turning away asylum-seekers go against Christian values.

“We will not be quiet in the face of injustice, not today, not tomorrow, not ever,” Blackmon told the crowd outside the DHS building. “And as you begin your sanctions, we will build our sanctuaries. As you send your agents, we will send our disciples. As you load people up to carry them across, we will open our doors and take them in.”

Trump tweeted last week that ICE was going to escalate the number of arrests and removals of undocumented immigrants starting this week. Then Saturday, he tweeted that he would halt the escalation for two weeks to see if Democrats and Republicans could pass legislation “to work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border.”

Blackmon said public protests against the immigration policies are necessary.

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