Hundreds of members of faith-based organizations chanted “No hate. No fear. Immigrants are welcome here!” as they marched outside the Milwaukee office of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Monday to protest the Trump administration’s immigration policies.
Religious leaders from the Racine Interfaith Coalition, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, WISDOM, MICAH, Milwaukee’s Jewish community, Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice, and more joined Voces de la Frontera members rallying in protest outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Milwaukee facility.
The crowd was protesting the immigration policies of the Trump administration including the separation of immigrant families, the poor living conditions in shelters were children are housed, and the deportations of undocumented immigrants by ICE.
Trump tweeted last week: “Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in.”
The United Church of Christ, who was holding its general synod that day in Milwaukee, brought a huge crowd to the rally with members from all over the country.
“We have come from the United Church of Christ – from our business sessions in Milwaukee – because the Gospel activated is always more important than even the business section,” Traci Blackmon, associate general minister of Justice and Local Church Ministries for the UCC, told the crowd. “We have come strong because we believe that freedom cannot rest until it comes.
“We have stood on these street corners blocking these particular doors because these are the doors in which the immigration officers bring people that they have illegally captured and put them inside,” Blackmon added. “Had they come while we were here, we were prepared to go to jail because a little discomfort for us is nothing like what is happening to people who are being caged in this country.”
The religious leaders and activists had interlocked arms to make a human barrier that blocked the garage doors of the ICE building in Milwaukee while they protested.
“We have come, my friends, because America is better than this,” Blackmon said. “We have come because we realize that the only thing that makes us great is that we are together. We have come because we don’t want to be a place that is not welcoming to the stranger.”
Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera, gave a shout out to United Church of Christ.
“This is truly a historic day. People are ready to be jailed for justice and it’s going to be something that we’re going to have to do, frankly,” Neumann-Ortiz said. “Because as this fight escalates, they are trying to normalize cruelty, torture, and death driven by hate, racism and xenophobia.
“So for us to stand here it is to send a message that we will protest and we will do civil disobedience whether that’s here – or in our neighborhoods – when ICE is present,” she added.