WASHINGTON — House Democrats protested the Trump administration deterrence policy of separating children from parents at the border with a rally today in front of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office.
Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), the House Democratic Caucus chairman, collapsed at the rally from heat exhaustion. “Thanks for everyone’s concern – doing fine now,” he tweeted later. “Wish I could say the same for the children and parents at the border.”
Actor John Cusack joined the lawmakers as they temporarily blocked the CBP entrance. “DHS will arrest children, but when Members of Congress commit civil disobedience they watched silently. Shame!” tweeted Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.).
Crowley said at a news conference that kids “as young as 18 months are being taken from their mothers’ arms, screaming” after seeking out Border Patrol agents and petitioning for asylum, and “if that is not psychological torture, I don’t know what is.”
“This practice needs to end. It is cruel, it’s inhumane, it is a form of torture, all in an effort to deter individuals who are coming to this country for no other purpose but to save their lives, to save the lives of their children. It’s a real ‘Sophie’s Choice,'” he said.
One of the protesters, Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), also spoke at the progressive We the People Summit in D.C. today, at which he said Attorney General Jeff Sessions would “just love, you know, for black people to be in the back of the bus again.”
“Yes, he’d love for women to be in the kitchen. He’d love for gay people to be in the closet again and for me not to have a microphone to be able to speak to anybody,” he said. “We’re not going to allow that to happen.”
Gutierrez later told CNN that his remark was “absolutely” appropriate. “There were all kinds of testimonies about him calling black men boys,” he said. “This is a man who is trying to strip black people as a U.S. Senator from their voting rights and diminish their voting rights. This is a man that works for Donald Trump. And we know what happened there in Charlottesville.”
“We know where he’s at and when it comes to the Violence against Women’s Act, he voted against it. When did you ever see him stand up for women? He’s never stood up for women and he’s never stood up.”