Demonstrators in the Valley Protest Against Detention Facilities at the Border
AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Demonstrators in the Shenandoah Valley took part in nationwide protests on Tuesday demanding the closure of detention facilities holding migrant children and their families.
Different advocacy groups spent hours outside the Augusta County courthouse urging state legislators to take action.
The event on Tuesday, July 2, was called Close Camps Now, and organizers say they hope to bring awareness to state legislators about conditions at the border.
Demonstrations across the country on Tuesday, including one in the Shenandoah Valley, demanded lawmakers take a stand against child detention centers.
"As this comes out from more and more mainstream and very reliable sources on both the moderate-to-liberal and moderate-to-conservative side, it's really not something that people can deny any longer," Stephanie Ward, the event organizer, said.
These protesters in the 6th District are demanding funding for detention centers and deportation be cut, and they're calling on Congressman Ben Cline to address the issue.
“I think if he's going to be making policy that affects these people that he needs to step forward and actually visit some of these centers and see what's going on for himself,” Ward said.
Demonstrators read off the names of children who have passed away while in detention centers before taking a moment of silence for them.
Some people like Nathan Williams drove more than two hours to fight for better conditions at the border.
"I'm here because I don't like how the government is treating migrants who are coming to this country fleeing bad conditions and seeking asylum,” Williams said.
Ultimately, organizers hope to send a message to members of Congress while they are at home in their districts for the July 4th holiday.
"It's not a partisan thing,” Williams said. “Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, this is something that you know is unacceptable."
In a statement, Congressman Ben Cline says he and President Trump have been hoping to address the border crisis for months and recently voted in favor of a relief bill for children at the border.
See his full statement below.
Statement from Congressman Ben Cline:
“There is a crisis at the border, and I’m glad that Democrats are finally recognizing what the President and I have been complaining about for several months. Last week, Nancy Pelosi finally agreed to consider the relief bill requested by the President to speed humanitarian assistance to the children at the border, and I was pleased to vote in favor of it. Funding for food, shelter, and medical supplies for children should not have been delayed by Speaker Pelosi for political purposes. I now hope Pelosi and her caucus will support taking additional action to solve the immigration crisis and provide real security at our border.”