Astoria parents group brings protest against migrant detention to Congresswoman’s Queens office

Max Parrott/QNS

A group of about 20 parents, with strollers and tots in tow, marched down to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s office in Astoria on Tuesday as part of a national campaign to protest the child parent separation policies in detention camps at the border.

The group, organized by Hand in Hand, an advocacy organization for domestic workers, picked Maloney’s office in spite of the fact that she voted against the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Humanitarian Assistance and Security at the Southern Border Act, which the group fears would be used to carry out President Trump’s policies. 

“As a parent it’s unconscionable that this is happening. When I drop my kid off to daycare, it can be really hard. So that this can be done in the name of a policy — with so much trauma inflicted — it has to end,” said Bhavana Nancherla, a Hand in Hand member. 

Hand in Hand, which is affiliated with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, has been organizing playtime actions across the city that aim to emphasize their urgency in resisting Trump’s border policies.

“It’s families that are being impacted and also families that are speaking up,” said Nancherla.

Max Parrott/QNS

The group let Maloney’s office know ahead of time to expect them hoping that they would have an opportunity to speak with her or a representative before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, of which Maloney is a member, held a hearing on misconduct at border detention facilities scheduled for July 10.

The group had three demands: that Maloney be committed to closing all border detention centers, that she demand an end to child separation at the border and that she plan a trip to witness the conditions of a migrant detention center.

Ed Babor, the Queens representative for Maloney, greeted the parents in the lobby of her office. 

“She’s definitely in your corner,” Babor said, but declined to comment on Maloney’s behalf about her response to the group’s demands. Babor did add, however, that Maloney had a trip to a detention center in South Texas planned for this weekend.

Maloney responded to the protest later on Tuesday, confirming that was planning to trip to the a detention facility during the weekend.  

“I am so proud to be part of a community that shows up and stands up for those who need their voices lifted up and are too often silenced. Thank you to all those who rallied at my Queens office today to condemn the gross atrocities at our Southern border. I’m grateful to have the support of my constituents and I value their commitment to speaking out against injustice and the negligent, inhumane treatment of migrants at detention centers,” she wrote.

Maloney’s spokesperson added that she is firmly in favor of re-uniting children with their parents and ending family separation.

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