Photo by Megan Cole / MTSU Sidelines
Nearly 40 people took a stand against what is being called the “family separation policy” in front of U.S. Congressman Scott DesJarlais’ office Wednesday afternoon.
Christopher Hale, a District 4 congressional candidate, led a group in the “Murfreesboro Patriotic March to End Family Separation Policy” on the downtown Murfreesboro square.
Families were separated starting earlier this year due to Attorney General Jeff Session’s “zero tolerance policy” that enforced the separation of children after their parents had been sent to jail for illegally crossing the border. President Donald Trump has stated that the detention of immigrants is important but signed a temporary executive order earlier on Wednesday that would end the separation of families but does not unite the families that have already been separated.
This group signed Hale’s petition that urged DesJarlais to “stand up against the unpatriotic, unchristian and anti-life family separation policy.” Hale suggested that DesJarlais and Trump should look into legislation that would protect the lives of children at the U.S.-Mexico border. Hale said that the temporary executive order from President Trump “just isn’t enough.”
Hale stated that he’s running his campaign to stand up to bullies.
“This policy was implemented six weeks ago, and Congressman DesJarlais didn’t say a word,” Hale said. “(DesJarlais) claims to be pro-life. Well, this policy is anti-life, it’s unpatriotic, it’s immoral and it’s unchristian. We are here to raise our hands up and say we protest. We want to protect children, whether or not they’re from Mexico or Murfreesboro. They all have equal dignity.”
Murfreesboro resident Nancy Long, 58, said that she is a mother before she is anything else, and when she sees photos of immigrant children in cages, she sees her own children in that position.
“I came because I was happy that someone was taking some sort of substantive action to speak out against how refugees and immigrants are being treated, and I appreciated an opportunity to do something more than cry,” Long said. “Many of these people are seeking refuge. They’re not trying to cross illegally. They’re trying to seek asylum in a legal way.”
Navy veteran Joseph Williford, 72, said he attended the march because he wanted to represent the Democratic party and to stand up for what he believes in.
Williford also said that the executive order that Trump signed is not a permanent fix and is an “easy backdown.”
“This gathering just shows that getting out and making your voice known is powerful,” Williford said.
Hale brought the signed petition and stuck it through the door at Congressman DesJarlais’ office on the square alongside a small American flag. After the march, the group had an after party at Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant.
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