Migrant family separations stoke rallies in Westchester

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People throughout Westchester came together Friday in an effort to support children separated from their families after illegal border crossings.

Protesters gathered on the steps of the Westchester County Office Building in White Plains chanting “keep families together.” Executive George Latimer addressed the issue, stating that President Trump is using “human beings as leverage to get his wall.”

“You can’t make public policy that way,” he said.

Demonstrators also took to the streets and held a rally in front of a statue of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. outside the county courthouse.

The well-being of undocumented immigrant children was also on the minds of people living in Dobbs Ferry. Mayor Bob McLoughlin said the community is coming together to offer assistance after hearing that some of the children are being housed at the nonprofit youth facility Children's Village.

“In general, most people weren't paying attention to this particular situation until Gov. Cuomo announced it,” said the mayor. “It was an eye-opener for a lot of people. And it was a wake-up call to take action."

Dobbs Ferry residents met late Friday afternoon inside South Presbyterian Church to further discuss the issue. They plan on having another community meeting at the church Saturday.

Immigrants’ rights advocates plan to hold another rally on June 30 outside the federal courthouse in White Plains.

Many advocates said separating immigrant children from their families leaves lasting trauma.

"We have to understand that we're not just doing damage to these children now, but we're likely creating a lifetime of…psychological struggle," said Suzanne Sunday, a retired child psychologist.

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