U.S. Senator and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), yesterday faced major scrutiny from protesters in front of his Brooklyn home on Prospect Park West and President Street in Grand Army Plaza for his decision to sign an immigration bill that U.S. Sen. and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) proposed.
The bill provides $4.6 billion funding to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers, an agency dedicated to investigating criminal and terrorist activity of undocumented immigrants in the country. The funding also went to the southern border to beef up both protection and services regarding the immigration crisis which has seen thousands of Hispanic immigrants including children flood across the border.
However, opponents to the funding say it will only further contribute to the unsanitary conditions, xenophobia, and lack of consideration for health, safety, and welfare.
Indivisible BK, a non-profit organization dedicated to fight for community justice, organized the rally outside Schumer’s apartment with signs, posters, and what they refer to as “birddogging art”.
“We are residents. We are here,” said Teresa Mayer, an organizer at Indivisible. “He needs to do something”.
The Senate, last week, passed the bipartisan emergency funding bill with the 84-8 vote. Schumer and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) faced criticism from New York representatives and residents, including U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Queens, the Bronx).
The rally organizers read testimonies of adolescent and child detainees in ICE detention centers before chanting “Close the Camps” and “Ditch Mitch,” the latter referring to McConnell.
This is not the first encounter between Indivisible BK and Schumer. The organization previously followed Schumer down 7th Avenue to co- sponsor the Green New Deal and initiate impeachment hearings for President Donald Trump.
Schumer did not leave his apartment but issued a statement from his spokesperson Angelo Roefaro.
““Senator Schumer is deeply concerned with the unacceptable conditions at the border caused by Trump’s callous policies and commends New Yorkers who are raising awareness about it. He is pushing to do away with the horrible for-profit detention centers and delivering the resources to improve the deplorable conditions at non-profit and government-run shelters,” said Roefaro.
“He helped secure desperately-needed humanitarian aid to HHS and additional funding to safely house all those who are being processed, while inserting guardrails to prevent the funds from being used for ICE beds or the wall. He believes this humanitarian crisis demands commonsense solutions, including allowing people to apply for asylum in their home country, increased security assistance to Central American countries, and an increased number of immigration judges to speed cases.”
Photos by Tsubasa Berg