At federal courthouse, locals protest family separation

BROWNSVILLE — About a dozen protestors gathered yesterday afternoon on the steps of the federal courthouse to slam President Donald Trump’s policy of separating children from their parents as un-American.

“Well, I think it’s just unconscionable that they are separating children from parents,” protestor Madeleine Sandefur said.

The Rio Grande Valley has made national headlines in recent weeks as being ground zero for Trump’s controversial “zero-tolerance” policy in which children whose parents cross the border illegally, and in some cases that have been reported are seeking asylum, are separated from their parents and placed in detention facilities throughout the Valley.

Two weeks ago, the debate gained heated momentum when a senator from Oregon attempted to visit the Southwest Key Programs-Casa Padre facility at the old Walmart building on Padre Island Highway in Brownsville, where staff called the police on him.

On Wednesday, Southwest Key Programs allowed 10 national media outlets to tour the facility but did not invite local media. An inquiry into that decision sent to Southwest Key Programs on Thursday morning, along with a request to tour the facility with six senators who are scheduled to tour the facility Sunday, was not returned.

That tour revealed that Southwest Key Programs-Casa Padre houses more than 1,400 immigrant boys, dozens of whom were forcibly separated from their parents under the “zero-tolerance” policy, the Washington Post reported.

U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Sessions defended the policy Thursday, quoting the Bible.

USA Today reported that during a speech to police officers in Fort Wayne, Ind., Sessions cited Romans 12, imploring his “church friends” to remember that the passage orders them to obey government laws.

“Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves,” USA Today quotes Sessions as saying. “Consistent, fair application of law is in itself a good and moral thing, and it protects the weak.”

On Thursday, protestors in front of the federal courthouse were flabbergasted when asked about their view of Sessions’ opinion.

“I mean, it’s outrageous to use the Bible as justification to rip small children and babies from their parent’s arms,” Joyce Hamilton said. “It’s quite a travesty.”