A national controversy is hitting close to home, literally.
Some children separated from families at the U.S./Mexican border are being sheltered in the Bronx.
In collaboration with local social services, the children are being detained at Lutheran Social Services, 831 Eagle Avenue while others have been placed in the care of Catholic Guardian Services throughout the borough and elsewhere.
When this was made public, elected leadership from all over the Bronx held a rally on the steps of the Bronx County Building on Friday, June 22 to oppose the separation of migrant children from their families.
“If anyone has any doubt of the contributions of the immigrant communities just look at the turnaround here in the Bronx,” said Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. to open the rally and prayer vigil. “We are here today because of a humanitarian crisis…we are here today to address a stain on the nation’s soul,” he added.
Senator Jeff Klein also spoke on the steps of the courthouse, saying that if not for open immigration policies during the time of the Holocaust he wouldn’t be standing there.
“We won’t tolerate detaining our children, we won’t tolerate these policies on immigration…all of us standing here today are sending a message to Donald Trump, we want to keep the American dream alive,” said Klein.
The rally received support on both sides of the political spectrum as well. Conservative district leader Oswald Denis stood alongside the Bronx electeds holding a sign with “Mr. Trump don’t mess with our kids” written on it.
“This isn’t an issue of parties, this is an issue of humans,” Denis said. “We should unite for this, it’s what makes the Bronx unique,” he added.
Congressman Joseph Crowley also expressed his opposition to these polices that are effecting his district.
“This issue isn’t just happening in Texas, it’s happening right here in the Bronx, it’s so close to home what we’re calling for is all Americans to speak out against separating children from their mothers and fathers.
Father Eric Cruz is working with Catholic Guardian Services to care for these children.
The pastor of St. John Chrysostom Church had just returned from his trip to McAllen, TX to speak during the rally.
While the stubble on his beard was incidental, the mud on his shoes was left intentionally to show the thunderstorms he had to trudge through to see the detention centers.
“When we were in that storm it made think, who’s is going to be there for those kids when they get frightened my thunder and lightening? When they cry out for their parents, when they’re scared? Who is there to comfort them and remind them that they are safe?” Cruz said.
Cruz also assured that the children would be receiving the best of care underneath Catholic Guardian Services as Diaz thanked him for his devout work to the issue at hand.