CASA to hold vigil in support of immigrant children and families

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
CASA lead organizer Laila Martin of Harrisburg displays a sign during an Indivisible YORK rally at Continental Square protesting immigration laws Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. Bill Kalina photo

A local immigrant-advocacy organization will hold a vigil in support of immigrant children and families at noon Saturday, June 2, at the York County Prison.

The ACLU also will hold a rally there on Friday, June 1. The Families Belong Together rally also begins at noon.

CASA, a regional organization advocating for Latino and immigrant rights, is holding the Saturday vigil in response to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Session's remarks about a "zero tolerance policy" for immigrant families illegally crossing the border. 

The policy is that if a family were to cross the U.S. border illegally, the parents would be arrested and the children would be taken away.

"Reports have demonstrated that this policy has resulted in abuse, neglect, and even trafficking of the children," the CASA Facebook post read.

A recent New York Times article revealed that since October, roughly 700 immigrant children have been taken home by an individual falsely claiming to be the parent. Many of these cases are believed to be child trafficking efforts.

The vigil to bring awareness about the Trump administration's treatment of immigrants will be led by York's CASA branch. Laila Martin, lead organizer for the branch, said a community response to the "anti-immigrant" rhetoric is necessary.

"There will be people involved in our organization there as well as others from the community," she said. "This is just a response to the recent news from the Trump administration, and we are getting together to show we're against it."

The location of the vigil signifies more than just a gathering place, too.

The York County Prison is home one of the state's largest immigration detention facilities. There are currently more than 700 immigrants from across the state detained there.

More:Immigrants call for more direct, vocal support in York City

The vigil will end at 2 p.m. The York County Prison is located at 3400 Concord Road.