Local faith leaders joined Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in speaking out against the Trump Administration’s family separation policy at a news conference in Cleveland Wednesday.
"We’re hopeful that the president acknowledges his role in this and stops this policy," Brown said. "The first thing is to keep families together, certainly to secure our borders, but it means you focus on criminals and terrorists, not on splitting up families."
Bringing together leaders of Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths at Cleveland's Trinity Cathedral was meant to show unity against the separation of children and families at the U.S. southern border, said Nozomi Ikuta, a pastor at the Denison Avenue United Church of Christ.
"I think it’s really to come together to create and implement a sane, rational, and compassionate immigration policy," Ikuta said. "But one that affirms the primacy of the family bond, for one thing, and the dignity of families and kids that they should not be treated in sub-human conditions."
Brown also called for the federal government to investigate contractors running the facilities where families are being detained.
“Based on recent reports, there is significant evidence that some federal contractors and grantees have not provided adequate accommodations for children in line with legal and contractual requirements,” Brown, along with a group of eight senators, wrote last week. “This is especially troubling given that the children in their care are often young and unable to advocate for their interests.”
In June, Brown and Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman voted for emergency funding that supports families at the border and provides additional resources to border patrol and customs agents.
“Rob agrees we have a humanitarian crisis at the border," Portman spokesperson said in a written statement. "Rob also supports efforts to better secure our southern border and reform our broken immigration system.”
President Donald Trump on Monday signed the bill authorizing $4.5 billion in spending for the federal agencies housing migrants at the southern U.S. border and processing asylum and refugee requests, including the Justice Department's immigration review office, the U.S. Marshals Service, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Health and Human Services Department's Administration for Children and Families.