Demanding Change to Immigration Policy

A group of protesters gathered at the Box Butte County Courthouse on Saturday, one of many protests going on throughout the nation to raise awareness and demand a change to the policy of separating families at the U.S. Mexico border.

Evan Mehne, organizer of the protest, said he hopes the administration will make a meaningful change, allowing children to stay with their family members who are seeking asylum at the border.

“We aim to show the nation that there are places in Nebraska that disagree with what’s going on at our borders: children being separated from their families,” said Mehne. “There’s only 20 days that (President Donald Trump) signed that executive order for, so it's a temporary solution—we’re looking for a permanent solution.

“We want more humane problem solving. We don’t want kids locked up. We don’t want families locked up. We don’t want them separated. We shouldn’t even be doing this. These are refugees: they are seeking asylum from gangs, from the cartels, from drugs. They are trying to escape violence,” Mehne said.

According to posts on social media, supporters of the policy planned a counter protest on Saturday; however, none formed at the courthouse. Mehne said he was not afraid of people organizing a counter protest, noting it would provide an opportunity to engage in constructive discussions about the topic.

“We’re not afraid of any backlash,” said Mehne. “We know that the backlash is there. We know there are people who want to voice their opposition, for whatever reason. We’re not here for that. A lot of us have been afraid to stand up for what’s right, and now it’s time to do what’s right.”

Mehne hopes the nationwide protest will make a difference, though he has his doubts. He is optimistic that even if the President does not change course, other people in the administration will. He encourages people to contact their representatives to voice their opinion on the matter.

“Maybe (Attorney General) Jeff Sessions will loosen up, maybe Donald Trump will find his heart: whatever it might be,” Mehne said. “We hope this inspires some sort of action, but if it doesn’t in the administration, maybe it will with the public. The public interaction is what’s needed. People rounded up the Japanese (during World War II) and nobody did anything. It’s not going to happen this time.”

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