MORRISTOWN, NJ - People gathered on the lawn of the Morristown Town Hall Friday evening for the Lights for Liberty Rally, to protest the inhumane conditions facing immigrants. Over 600 events worldwide were held to oppose immigration camps and how badly people are treated while detained in those camps.
“Our objective is to organize and inform people that Trump’s Administration is keeping immigrants locked up in horrible conditions,” said organizer Kaitlin Stanfield. "Tonight is not about the organizers. It's not about me and it's not about you. It is about the refugees who are being tortured and starved and abused every day".
"To the refugees who have risked everything for a better life only to be thrown in concentration camps, tortured and starved, we see you", she said. "To those who have lost their lives on their journey or at the hands of our own government, we see you. To the mothers who have had their babies ripped from their breasts, we see you".
In addition to the horrible living conditions, Stanfield and her roommate Melody Hill spoke to the crowd about one immigrant in particular. Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalas, they said, at age 20, left her village in Guatamala in hopes of escaping to the United States to find work. She was an honor student with an accounting certificate. She left her family and friends behind and took what little money she had and traveled to the border. Three weeks after leaving home, she was shot in the head by border patrol in Texas. Claudia was unarmed, they said.
“Did you know that it costs $775 dollars a day to run the immigration camp?", Hill asked the group. "Who is paying for that? We are.Tax dollars are paying for these camps", she said.
Stanfield spoke about The Flores Act of 1997.
The Flores Act of 1997 outlines the standards for the detention of unaccompanied minors. The Flores settlement requires that minors be placed in safe and sanitary places where they will receive drinking water and food and medical attention if necessary.
“Kids are being kept in inhumane living conditions", Stanfield said.
Stanfield and Hill called on the public to help.
“Call the legislators. Write letters expressing your concern for how people are being treated,” added Stanfield.
Stanfield read a letter sent in from Senator Cory Booker. Senator Booker wrote, “The humanitarian crisis is unacceptable and it does not reflect the values on which our country was founded.”
Attendees held signs and chanted "close the camps".
We must show solidarity that we will not permit these abuses without a fight", said Stansfield.