BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, Ohio — In terms of activism against the immigration policies of President Donald Trump, a vigil outside of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s office in a Brooklyn Heights office park on Thursday afternoon was one of the tamer protests.
The event, which drew about two dozen people to stand in the grass outside the building, included no chanting or even a raised voice.
The group of activists sang and prayed, standing firm in its own way against the policies of Trump’s administration, which heightened enforcement of immigration laws against people suspected of being in the country illegally and people seeking asylum.
While Trump and his supporters defend the actions of ICE as necessary, others have accused agents of using heavy handed tactics.
The resistance intensified with reports of officials separating parents and children from Latin American countries who tried to cross into the U.S.
“That is not what we signed up for as American citizens,” Oberlin resident Ben Wisner said at Thursday’s event.
The people in attendance all stood behind or to the side of a large sign that said “This is about FAMILY” and “Immigration Reform Now!” They faced the street, and while most drivers did not acknowledge them, a few honked or signaled.
After a prayer led by the Rev. Lisa O’Rear of St. Andrew Episcopal Church in Mentor, the group sang the spiritual “Go Down Moses.”
People in attendance said they have attended other events, of which there have been several both in Cleveland and nationwide.
Chrissy Stonebraker-Martinez, co-director of the InterReligious Task Force on Central America and one of the event’s organizers, said the group hosted and participated in protests and activism before Trump took office, as President Obama’s administration also actively deported people suspected of being in the country illegally.
Their activism increased following his November 2016 election, though, and especially as stories were published in news outlets nationwide about the conditions in which immigrants are held and how families are separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.
By Eric Heisig FOR CLEVELAND.COM
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