Lawyer Moms of America held a nationwide day of action to demand an end to family detention and promote the reunification of children and their families following President Trump’s Zero Tolerance policy last Friday.
Erin Albanese, co-founder of Lawyer Moms of America, helped mobilize more than 10,000 lawyer moms across the U.S. to deliver an open letter to their congressional representatives.
Lawyer Moms of America, a nonpartisan group, and Indivisible Washington’s Eighth District, one of thousands of volunteer-led local groups that engage in progressive advocacy and electoral work, gathered together in front of Rep. Dave Reichert’s office in Issaquah waving colorful signs and chanting, “Families belong together!” and “Children and families deserve to be together!”
“We as Indivisible are joining with Lawyer Moms of America to ask our congressman to please do something about the families that have been separated by Trump’s immigration policies,” Chris Petzold, founder of Indivisible Washington’s Eighth District said. “We don’t want this happening in our name. We need to reunite these families. It’s going to affect them for the rest of their lives. It’s inhumane and it’s not who we are as Americans.”
Albanese, a corporate and nonprofit lawyer in Seattle, along with Athena Kennedy, a formal environmental lawyer, personally delivered the letter to Reichert’s staff. Reichert was not in the office.
Jan Cox, a member of Indivisible, said she expected the letter delivery to go like this.
“They’re afraid for the safety of the staff, which I think is pretty ridiculous. What do they think we’re going to do? We’re all peaceful people. We’re not going to cause harm, look at us, or at least me, I’m 75 years old. I’m not much of a threat,” she said.
The open letter asks congresspeople and representatives to pass legislation that immediately reunites the more than 2,345 displaced children with their families or at least a safe, well-documented and temporary living space. The letter also asks to put a stop to detaining migrant asylum seekers, and ensures migrant families remain together outside of federal detentions and institutions.
Albanese considers the day’s protest and letter delivery a success but fears things may get worse before it gets better.
“They said it might be a month and a half before he gets back to us because they have to route this information to D.C. attached to every constituent name,” she said. “I reminded him that children are sitting in cages away from their parents and a month and a half is too long.”
Kennedy said she hopes the letter will make an influence.
“This is a humanity issue and I don’t understand how it can be seen as a partisan issue,” Kennedy said as she held her young son’s hand. “It’s kids and families. Everybody who has a kid can understand that.”