Protesters fanned out across the Southland Tuesday in opposition to the Trump administration policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border as furor over the nation’s immigration policy continued to grow.
Immigrant-advocates rallied outside the Irvine office of Republican Rep. Mimi Walters and outside the Palmdale office of fellow Republican Rep. Steve Knight.
“We’re tired of them criminalizing our parents,” one protester told KCAL9 outside Walters’ office. “We’re tired that there has been many attempts to push for some kind of Dream Act, federal Dream Act, and Congress has done nothing to push for it on the floor.”
Brandon Zavala, an organizer of the protest outside Knight’s office said the congressman “could introduce legislation today to stop this cruel and unnecessary policy.”
Both Knight and Walters issued statements condemning the family-separation policy.
“I understand that our country’s immigration system is in dire need of reform and I absolutely oppose the practice of separating children from their parents at the border,” Knight said.
“Right now, I am actively working with my colleagues on legislation that would end this practice. Additionally, I am pursuing solutions that will strengthen security along the southern border as well as provide a permanent solution for DACA recipients.”
Walters, meanwhile, said that “as a mother, I strongly oppose the separation of children from their parents at the border.”
“This action does not reflect our nation’s values and I will support efforts to stop this practice,” she said. “We can strengthen our borders while keeping families together.”
Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, criticized the policy, characterizing it as “traumatic, brutal, and un-American. It must stop immediately.”
President Donald Trump continued to point blame at Democrats for the situation along the border, saying the Democratic Party is response for “loopholes” in federal laws that “cause family separation, which we don’t want.”
“As a result of these loopholes, roughly half a million illegal immigrant family units and minors from Central America have been released into the United States since 2014 at unbelievably great taxpayer expense,” Trump said during a speech to a business group in Washington, D.C.
“Nobody knows how much we’re paying for this monstrosity that’s been created over the years — legislation that nobody has any idea what they’re doing.
“… Child smugglers exploit the loopholes, and they gain illegal entry into the United States, putting countless children in danger on the perilous trek to the United States,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Trump wrote his Twitter account: “Democrats are the problem. They don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our country, like MS-13. They can’t win on their terrible policies, so they view them as potential voters!”
That post drew an angry response from at least one Los Angeles-area congressman, Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, who retorted on Twitter: “Dear (Trump), Like you grandfather, my parents infested America. As their son with yellow skin, I now get to vote against your harmful policies. And after you leave due to either losing reelection or impeachment, I will still be here reversing your (expletive). Cheers.”
Lowenthal accused Trump of demanding that Democrats “support his effort to overhaul the immigration system before family separation ends — using these children to extort a political victory. The practice must end, and it must end now.”
Lowenthal said he has co-sponsored legislation to end the policy and he has “repeatedly called on Speaker Ryan to allow for a vote in the House to halt these separations.”
Democrat Gil Cisneros, who is running against former Assemblywoman Young Kim to replace Rep. Ed Royce in November, also criticized the policy as “cruel, inhumane.”
“The images and stories from the past several days of children locked in metal cages and crying out for their parents has shocked our country’s moral conscience,” Cisneros said.
Democrat Harley Rouda, who holds a 69-vote lead in the race for a spot on the November ballot against Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach, joined in the criticism.
“The Trump administration’s systematic abuse of immigrant families, particularly the separation of families seeking asylum, is cruel, egregious and sickening,” Rouda said.
“Taking toddlers from their parents and holding them in cages is reminiscent of the darkest and most shameful moments in American history, something we should all be eager to not repeat. To do so in an effort to score political points is particularly monstrous and despicable.”
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