Morgantown Locals Protest Recent Immigration Policy

Jun 19, 2018

Protesters marching down Beechurst Ave in Morgantown
Credit Shayla Klein

The U.S. Department of Justice announced a  “Zero Tolerance” policy in illegal immigration earlier this year , and that policy has recently come under scrutiny for news that  children are being separated from their parents as they enter the United States across the Mexican border. A group, called “Mountaineers for Progress”, hosted a protest Monday evening against the policy.

Titled ‘March to Keep Families and Children Safe and Together’, Community members gathered to march, urging Representatives to stand up against the policy. In attendance was Reverend Wes Burgon. Burgon came to America from Canada over 20  years ago. He says that this is a race issue, not an immigration issue.

 

“There's 100,000 Canadians living in this country illegally and nobody cares and that’s fine because we're white”

Children and their parents at the event
Credit Shayla Klein

Although the issue is not happening close to West Virginia, protesters say it's important to stand up to the issue no matter where you are. One candidate who is running for the state House of Delegates, Danielle Walker,  says the issue is important to her because she is a mother of 2 sons. She believes West Virginia is often forgotten about, but that people in our state have the ability to help others.

“Mountaineers take care of one another, and that's what we're doing here”

The protestors walked one mile, starting at Congressmen McKinley's office,then ending in front of Senator Capito’s office. There, they stood outside the building and guest speakers spoke  about the issue. Democratic nominee who is running against McKinley in this fall’s race for the West Virginia 1st Congressional district Kendra Fershee, said she believes the 100 tolerance immigration policy should be important to everyone.

"It's not about immigration, it's about human rights" sign in front of Capito's office

“It doesn't necessarily directly impact us at our West Virginia border but we’re Americans and we should be standing up against these practices.”

When asked about the issue, Congressman McKinley said

"Families should not be seperated at the border. At the same time, enforcing immigration laws and stopping human traffickers from exploiting loopholes in our system must also be a priority. We are pleased President Donald J. Trump is signing an executive order to stop this practice. The decision proves that quiet diplomacy can still work in Washington. Behind the scenes, many of us urged the Administration and House leadership to keep familes intact. Now it's up to congress to develop a lasting solution, not only on family seperation, but other problems with our complex imigration system as well." 

Organizers of the rally passed out slips of paper with numbers to call if people want to take action..