An estimated 150 protesters gathered outside Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s Bangor office Wednesday to voice their concern about the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy.
The protest came just hours after President Donald Trump signed an executive order ending the separation of children from their families after they are detained while crossing the U.S. border illegally.
“I’m really glad we’re at that pivotal moment for this protest, so people can now take the new message, which is we need to free the children. We need to reunite the families, and we need to make these children and these families citizens,” organizer Stacy Leafstrong said.
Participants joined hands to form a circular living wall on the street outside the office at Union Plaza, while Leafstrong and Rabbi Darah Lerner gave speeches and led the group through songs and chants.
“How we treat people coming into our country is really important, it’s about who we are and how we see ourselves,” Lerner said after the protest. “As a person of faith, we constantly come back to the theme of family as incredibly valued, the importance of welcoming the stranger, the importance of understanding, particularly as a Jew, what it means to be a stranger in a strange land and our responsibility to care for others.”
On Tuesday, Poliquin was filmed saying that he believed children should remain with their parents. “I’m a father and I oppose the specific policy of separating children from their parents at the border,” Poliquin said.
After Wednesday’s protest, Poliquin’s press secretary Brendan Conley said, “It is great to see these activists show their support for Congressman Poliquin and his position on this issue. The activists support the Congressman’s position that families should not be separated.”