Dozens of community members came out to First Congregational Church in Amherst to show support for Lucio Perez — an immigrant taking sanctuary at the church — and for immigrant families both at the U.S. border and throughout the country.
“I believe in the goodness of the American people. I believe that we have to fix it,” said Congressman Jim McGovern.
McGovern spoke out against family separation saying what’s going on at the border, the separation of children from their parents, that’s not who we are as a country.
“People need to organize, they need to call their elected officials, they need to demand that we not betray our values.” He called on people to put pressure on him and on the state’s delegation. Other leaders spoke about local efforts and how people can get involved.
Lucio Perez, a husband and father, has been in sanctuary for eight months avoiding deportation. He told 22News, “It hasn’t been easy for me but I know that we will win in the end.”
Perez said there needs to be more community support. Tony Perez, Lucio’s 15-year-old son, told 22News, for children in his position, they need to remember to stay strong.
“Right now we have a lot of support and we just got to wait and see.”
To date, more than 2,300 children have been separated from their parents at the U.S./Mexico border under President Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” policy.