Protesters Demand Rep. Tom Reed Work To Reunite Immigrant Families Separated By ‘Zero Tolerance’ Policy


Celia Clarke/WSKG / WSKG Public Media

Protesters from Ithaca Catholic Worker, a human rights organization, remained inside 23rd District Congressman Tom Reed’s Corning office for over an hour. Wednesday, June 28. Photo: Celia Clarke/WSKG.

CORNING, NY (WSKG) – About 15 people took over 23rd District Congressman Tom Reed’s Corning office on a rainy Wednesday. The protesters crowded into the front of the office where two staffers remained at their desks. 

Reed’s district contains the western Southern Tier and includes Hornell, Elmira and Ithaca. The protesters say Reed has failed to condemn the “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

The groups called on Reed to take a stand against the separation of children from their families at the border. They read from articles, congressional testimony, and an ACLU report describing abuse and assault of children in detention by immigration officers.

Celia Clarke/WSKG / WSKG Public Media

Protesters stood in the rain outside the Corning office of 23rd District Congressman Tom Reed to urge him to speak out against requiring parents to relinquish rights to apply for asylum in order to be reunited with children taken from them at the border. Wednesday, June 27, 2018. Photo: Celia Clarke/WSKG

Outside, over 20 more protesters gathered in the rain. They called on Reed to oppose the immigration policy that separates children from their parents. Speakers said the executive order ending that zero tolerance policy is not enough.

Carol Seifert is a member of the Southern Tier Interfaith Coalition. Seifert said she experienced similar childhood trauma and knows it can do long-lasting damage. 

“This policy is un-American and indefensible,” she said. “Now that it has been stopped the reunification of the children with their families should have the highest priority.”

The event was organized by a coalition of groups from across the Southern Tier and protesters came from around Reed’s district.