Early on June 19, the children of Manuel Lopez, a man caught in recent citywide raids conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, joined with almost a dozen Wisconsinites, including Voces de la Frontera executive director Christine Neumann-Ortiz, to chain themselves together at the ICE district field office.
The action was to condemn the raids that have separated the children from their father since May 27.
"I just want my dad to come home," Brianna Lopez, 11, said in a news release. "He's a good guy and I miss him a lot."
"My brother is a role model for me and for his children. People should see the way he'd give you the shirt off his back. It breaks my heart to see what his kids are going through without their father right now," said Ruben Lopez, Manuel's younger brother.
The protest started at about 6 a.m. at the ICE office located at 310 E. Knapp Street.
The action was organized in response to the May 27 immigration raid in Milwaukee. Activists called on ICE regional director Ricardo Wong to release Manuel and as part of the national campaign demanding that President Barack Obama use his executive authority to stop deportations.
As Congress stalls on immigration reform and the president delays his own action, Wisconsin families have vowed to do all they can to stop deportation and detention as they witness what they describe as ICE spreading terror locally, according to Voces de la Frontera.
"If ICE is going to step up its attacks on families in our communities, we're going to step up our response," said Neumann-Ortiz. "It's obscene that the president is not only prolonging the suffering of people he claims to advocate for but is making it worse with sweeps that criminalize and intimidate our entire community. We all want to live in safe communities but spreading fear and distrust doesn't help that goal. It undermines it."
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