It’s been almost a month since swarming helicopters accompanied by 200 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other agents arrested 114 workers at Corso’s Flower and Garden Center in Sandusky and Castalia. Eight individuals were indicted, one woman voluntarily leaving her two American-born children and husband and being taken back to Mexico, where she was dropped off near the border with no plan and without much more than the clothes on her back.
Cleveland Jobs with Justice and other organizations have been busy organizing donations — everything from diapers, to food, to household items.
The focus now is on gift cards, especially Visa gift cards, Jobs with Justice director Deb Kline said. “Because they’re at the point now where they need to pay rent and utilities,” Kline said of the affected families.
It’s been a long month for activists.
Two weeks after the June 5 Corso’s raid, ICE again descended, this time on meat-packing plants — Fresh Mark in Massillon Canton and Salem, arresting 146 employees in Salem.
The community of Salem has stepped up; there were reports of local teachers taking several kids and teens home while their parents navigated the legal system. Kline said the union and churches there even had donations under control.
In Sandusky, community members described chaos — kids left in daycare or with sitters with no plans for pickups the day of the raid.
“It’s hard to describe what it’s been like,” Kline said. “I can’t imagine being a family member and dealing with it. This government just has to stop.”
This all came as the country watched more than 2,500 children traumatically separated from their parents at the southern border, and then placed in rapidly erected camps and facilities housed in abandoned Walmarts. Demands for answers haven’t ceased, especially questions about where the seldom-seen girls are being housed.
Those who cross the border illegally are committing misdemeanors and are within their legal rights to seek asylum or refugee status.
“They’re not felons,” said Kline.
NOTE: Those interested in donating to help families affected by the Sandusky raids can take checks or Visa gift cards to Cleveland Jobs with Justice, 20525 Center Ridge Rd. Ste. 700, Rocky River. Call 440-333-7007 for more information.
Show support by attending the Families Belong Together rally Sat 6/30 @ 10am-1pm Public Square.
[Written by Nicole Hennessy]