Constituents of Rep. Steve Stivers protested at the congressman's Hilliard office on Wednesday, in an effort to draw attention to the continued separation of immigrant families at the U.S. southern border.
Protestors carried signs and sang “We’re gonna build a better world,” as they filed into Stivers’ office. Tiffany Rumbalski organized the protest, asking Stivers to speak up about the issue.
“I hope he’ll start talking because he has more power than we do,” Rumbalski said. “I hope he’s talking to people who are in charge, I hope he’s talking to DHS and HHS and the executive branch and telling them this is not acceptable.”
Constituents also occupied Stivers' office in Wilmington. Stivers represents Ohio's 15th District, which covers a chunk of Central Ohio as well as parts of Fairfield, Hocking, Vinton, Athens, and Morgan counties.
Stivers has said he does not approve of family separation, but protesters want him to be more vocal. His public comments are especially important since he leads the National Republican Congressional Committee, which is the campaign arm for House Republicans.
“We get the sense the government just wants to appease us and have us forget that this is going on and have us move on, but we want them to know that we won’t,” Rumbalski said. “We ask for Rep. Stivers, since he’s supposed to be our voice in Washington, that he not stop either until the government reunites all the families.”
The Trump administration faces a Thursday deadline to reunite about 2,000 migrant children still separated from their parents. The government told a federal judge it has already reunited more than 1,000 parents with their children, but lost track of hundreds more.
In an emailed statement, Stivers said, “As a father, I know the importance of family and understand why kids need to be with their parents. That’s why I was one of the first in Congress to oppose the practice of separating families at the border. As a result, the Administration ended the policy. More than a thousand families have been reunited, however, there is clearly still work to be done. I stand ready to support additional ways to stop unnecessary separation of children from their parents.
“Moreover, just this week, my bill to help children in America passed overwhelmingly out of Financial Services Committee. My bill will more accurately count homeless youth in our communities, so we can better understand the scope of the issue and how we can better help them get out of homelessness.”