HIGHLAND PARK, NJ — Worries and concerns in this small town they say, mirror what is being felt along the U.S. southern border where thousands of migrant families are being separated.
Cloyd Edralin, a green card holder, was detained last year by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for four months over a decade old firearm possession conviction.
On Tuesday night, he and his family joined a “Families Together” march in Highland Park organized by immigration rights advocacy groups to call attention to what they call the plight of immigrant families separated by the federal government.
The Edralin family said they are still haunted by a similar experience.
“We’re still working on it. As a matter of fact, my Nikki when she was giving a speech in there, was still in tears. This is something you don’t forget.”
“I think about it a lot. Just because that was a hard time. It kind of scares me because he had a green card. The didn’t have a warrant. It’s just stuff like that it’s kind of scary so you know I look back on that a lot.”
The Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy — which was first implemented in April 2018 — resulted in the separation of more than 2,800 children from their migrant parents at the southern border.
Outcry and backlash forced the administration to end the policy two months later, and a federal judge ordered for families to be reunited.
But according to recent reports, thousands more might have been separated from their families that were not recorded.
Advocates have also said family separation still continues at the border.
Pastor Steven Rantung and his Filipina wife have been helping traumatized children separated from their parents who have been detained or deported.
“They have no mercies even to American citizen children, they don’t care what will happen to them, how much more to the children coming to the southern border, they’re not American citizen so I can’t imagine the kind of treatment that they receive.”
Meanwhile, the House judiciary committee is scheduled to vote Thursday on a resolution that would authorize the issuing of subpoenas to current and former white house officials who participated in the zero-tolerance policy.