WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — As President Trump announces more crackdowns on illegal immigration, events are being held across the country to protest the current immigration policies.
Women Organizing for Wilmington or WoW! hosted the local event in solidarity with Lights for Liberty, the national vigil to end human detention camps.
Described as a non-partisan event, the goal was to demonstrate that Americans support better treatment for immigrant families.
“It’s got to stop, and unless people stand up to what’s going on, it won’t stop,” said attendee Duane DeMeyer.
WoW! President Lynn Shoemaker says she’s heard stories from children in our state who went through the process of being detained and separated from their parents.
“Some have been sexually assaulted, some arrived boys in girls clothes that were two sizes too large or two sizes too small. Their lingual skills have digressed, some who were potty trained no longer are,” Shoemaker said.
DeMeyer says he believes there are better ways to deal with the issue proactively.
“I think they should putting money back into the countries that these people are coming from,” DeMeyer. “Other administrations did that, trying to help out down there, creating jobs, creating safer places to live.”
After hearing from several speakers, attendees participated in a candlelit vigil. Some say while their protests may have no effect on this administration’s policies, they want others to hear their message.
“I have a grandson who just turned two years old, he’s our only grandson. And it would just break my heart and kill me to see him being treated like this, and I would ask these other people on the other side to think the same way,” DeMeyer said.
President Donald Trump has defended the federal border detention facilities, and on Friday, Vice President Mike Pence toured one in Texas, where he said he was not surprised to see a system that was “overwhelmed.”
Pence repeated that “the crisis is real” several times, but says what’s not real are allegations of the mistreatment of detainees.
“The facts are we have a crisis on our southern border that is being driven by human traffickers who are exploiting loopholes in American law to entice vulnerable families to make the long and dangerous journey north,” Pence said. “I want to make it clear the President and I are ready to roll our sleeves up and work with men in women in both political parties in the Congress to bring about the changes that will bring an end to this crisis.”