Dozens of Catholics arrested at Capitol after protesting Trump immigration policies
BY REBECCA KLAR - 07/18/19 01:35 PM EDT
A group of Catholics, wearing photos of migrant children who died in U.S. custody, was arrested Thursday as they protested the Trump administration’s immigration policy.
Francisan Action Network, a Catholic human rights group, planned the protest calling the border facility conditions a human rights violation and "contrary to religious teachings."
Photos shared by the religious groups show hundreds of participants demonstrated inside the Russell Senate Office Building.
"Images of children kept in deplorable and unsanitary conditions, without access to showers for weeks, and sleeping on concrete floors without blankets, and being detained incommunicado have compelled us to stand in solidarity and say, 'not in our name!'" said Sister Áine O’Connor, a protestor arrested Thursday, in a statement.
U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman Eva Malecki said 70 individuals were arrested for “unlawfully demonstrating in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building.”
"Scripture reminds us that the Holy Family were once migrants who had to flee their country, and so our faith compels us to be people of compassion and mercy who welcome the strangers in our midst. We are at a pivotal moment of history that demands a faithful and moral response to stop this inhumanity once and for all," O'Connor said.
Sisters of Mercy, one of the protest's participating groups, tweeted video footage of the arrests showing four protesters lying on the ground in the center of the Senate building, surrounded by hundreds more bearing the faces of migrant children who died in U.S. custody.
Ahead of Thursday’s demonstration, Franciscan Action Network executive director Patrick Carolan told America magazine the group was “horrified at the treatment of children at the border.”
“We’ve been talking and decided that we had to do something,” he told the outlet. “We are trying to get Catholics across the country to rise up and reclaim our faith.”
Earlier in the week, the Jewish organization Never Again Action protested U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's D.C. headquarters following weeks of nationwide protests at detention centers.
Democrats have called out the reported unsafe and unsanitary conditions, but Republicans and border officials deny that migrants are being treated inhumanely.
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