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‘Families Belong Together’ Event Facilitates Discussion Of Immigration Practices

Action of Greater Lansing's Mark Brown (L) and Oscar Castaneda speak at Thursday's town hall.
Katie Cook
Action of Greater Lansing's Mark Brown (L) and Oscar Castaneda speak at Thursday's town hall.

One result of the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration has been the separation of children from their parents upon crossing the U.S. border.

Action of Greater Lansing and the ACLU’s Civil Rights for Immigrants Task Force held a town hall in Lansing Thursday to discuss these issues. Katie Cook reports.



More than 140 people attended the town hall at Lansing’s Cristo Rey Church on Thursday to discuss the current administration’s increasingly strict immigration practices.

Many organizations around the country held similar events today in an effort to raise awareness of the cause they’re calling Families Belong Together.”


The phrase is a response to the current administration’s policy to prosecute any adult who comes across the border illegally. Since children can’t be in jail with their parents, they are put in government custody or foster care. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has defended the policy by citing the Bible, which says to “obey the laws of government.”


Several people spoke at Thursday’s event, including Immigration Attorney Pamela Davies, who shared her concerns.


“I think it’s going to go beyond what we just heard about families being separated. Because events like this- it’s also going to have a ripple effect to the families that are already here. That’s what I believe.”



Action of Greater Lansing’s Oscar Castaneda says one reason for Thursday's event was to raise awareness. He says many people don’t understand what immigrants are facing in their home countries when they flee and come here.

“When you see those picture of children who are twelve, ten years old riding all the way from Honduras to Texas on top of a train, you look at your own ten years old child and you’re like, ‘there’s no way my kid’s gonna do that, they’d never do that,’ says Castaneda. “So, it makes you think for you to make the decision of taking this insane step, you have to be desperate. Really horrible things have to be happening in your life.”

After the town hall meeting, there was a community discussion about how to raise awareness about immigration practices and their implications, and what resources are available to families in fear of deportation.


For more information, visit Cristo Rey's website and Facebook page.

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