Activists at a pair of Long Island events held Sunday to highlight the plight of children separated from their parents at the Mexican border included the woman who climbed the Statue of Liberty to protest President Donald Trump’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy.
“I had to take a stand that putting children in cages is inhumane,” said Patricia Okoumou, 45, of Staten Island, who joined about 70 others for Sunday’s afternoon rally at the corner of Route 110 and Jericho Turnpike in Huntington Station. “Something has gone wrong with our government. We can’t tolerate Trump’s actions.”
Okoumou and others at the rally demanded that federal officials find the thousands of immigrant children they said are missing after being separated from their families at the United States’ southern border.
She became a national symbol of resistance to Trump’s immigration stance when she scaled the base of the Statue of Liberty on July Fourth last year.
Later Sunday, Okoumou met with activists in Massapequa who were writing letters to children they said continue to live in shelters after being separated from their parents. The activists also wrote letters to Nassau County Executive Laura Curran asking her to end county cooperation with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Faith Rashid, of Mill Neck, was among those writing letters to Curran.
“I want her to know we don’t want ICE in our neighborhood,” Rashid said.
Stephen Figurasmith, a co-founder of the group, Prison Abolitionists of Nassau Inciting Change, said Curran “got elected riding on a wave of anti-Trump sentiment, and now that she’s in office she needs to remain accountable to those values.”
By Deon J. Hampton and Scott Eidler for NEWSDAY
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