HomePrinceton PacketPrinceton Packet NewsPrinceton residents speak out against new immigration policies

Princeton residents speak out against new immigration policies

Approximately 150 people gathered in the square in front of Witherspoon Grill on Witherspoon St. in Princeton last Thursday to protest the separation of families family separation at the U.S./Mexico border.

The protest was led by the organization, Families Belong Together. Their mission “opposes the cruel, inhumane and unjustified separation of children from their parents along the U.S. border with Mexico and at other ports of entry into the U.S.”

The crowd surrounding the protest was colored with signs of many shades, all of which included the same message: Keep Families Together.

“I am just appalled at the policies that our government has sunk to sign,” Princeton resident John Hylander said. “I think it is un-American. It flies in the face of all of the values that I learned as a child, that I have grown up with for over 70 years and I am just ashamed for America.”

Pastor Sammy Arroyo, of the First United Methodist Church in Hightstown, addressed the crowd.

“Today, I stand before all of you to tell Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and to the President of the United States and to all of those who support these practices, that this is a disgusting and an immoral policy,” he said. “By separating children from their families, you are using them as weapons against their own. You are asking a parent who is on the edge of abyss to choose between leaving their child in a place where they can be in danger or risking their lives on a dangerous journey.”

Susan Solomon, a Princeton resident for the past 45 years, came out to the rally looking for a way to make a positive impact not only in her community, but on a national front as well.

“I am just so appalled by this policy,” she said. “I am searching for something positive to do. I am shocked and sad; I am frustrated. I am looking for some positive way to do something, and I’m not quite sure what? I am thinking back to the anti-gun protest a few months ago that was here. It filled the entire plaza and went down main street. It was amazing. I am looking for that kind of activism here, today.”

Judy Warmingham, who travelled over an hour from Lebanon Township to come speak her mind, reflected on her past from when she moved to America from England.

“I came over to America as a child, myself,” she said. “I can’t imagine being separated from my parents when I came into a country where I knew nobody. I’m from England, so I knew the language, but still when you come over here, you know nobody in the entire country.”

Another immigrant, Donatelia from Guatemala, spoke about her escape to America and how her experience of being a journalist, and speaking with an open mind, caused her to be in danger.

“I had to leave behind my family, friends, and life as I knew it, it was not easy at all,” she said. “But, my life and my son’s life were in danger because as a journalist I spoke openly about my views, many of which didn’t align with the government.”

Donatelia continued and discussed her journey to America and the impact it had on her son.

“He was a brave little man, he even said to others traveling in our group that he was taking care of his Mommy,” she said. “He was only 6 years old. At that age a child should only think of reciting their ABC’s, playing with toys, and dreaming of saving the world, not being arrested and taken to a detention facility.”

But, Donatelia’s journey to America made her have hope in one thing.

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, our world will know peace,” she said. “The fight is in our hands and our great power of love makes the difference.”

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