As the heart-wrenching story of a Honduran mother having her baby daughter ripped from her arms by federal authorities as she was breastfeeding provided yet another example of the immense cruelty of President Donald Trump's family separation policy, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) on Wednesday led a sit-in outside the offices of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) demanding that asylum-seekers be released from government detention and reunited with their loved ones immediately.
"Every hour that goes by is another hour of trauma for these moms, dads, little boys, girls, and babies," Jayapal—who was joined in the act of civil disobedience by a group of House Democrats and immigrant rights activists—wrote on Twitter.
"What do you call a country that institutionalizes child abuse?" added Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) from the steps of the CBP building in the nation's capital. "Tragically, today, we call it the United States of America. As a mother, as a grandmother, as the proud daughter of two immigrant parents, we will not stand for that... We will fight until we win."
When we fight, WE WIN.
Proud to be fighting for immigrants and families alongside champions like @RepGutierrez @repjoecrowley @repjohnlewis @RepJayapal @RepRaulGrijalva @JimmyGomezCA @RepEspaillat @RepJudyChu pic.twitter.com/Eux4QMr2J7
— Jan Schakowsky (@janschakowsky) June 13, 2018
— bilal (@Billyistan) June 13, 2018
The House Democrats' sit-in comes just days after Jayapal visited a federal detention facility in Washington, where mostly women asylum-seekers told her one horrifying story after another about awful living conditions at Border Patrol facilities, abuse they've experienced at the hands of immigration authorities, and the pain of being separated from their young children.
In a speech on Wednesday, Jayapal—who last week called for Trump's family separation practices to be completely defunded—vowed to continue fighting for migrants who are being detained unjustly and denied a fair hearing.