Family members of detained, deported join Deportee Suitcase Solidarity march

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NEW YORK -

Family members of detained or deported men from Westchester joined a march Thursday through New York City.

The Deportee Suitcase Solidarity march was held around the immigration offices and detention center at 26 Federal Plaza in Manhattan.

Activists say that when someone gets detained or deported, families can pack that person only one suitcase that is a maximum of 25 pounds.

Organizers asked protesters to think about the suitcase and bring a personal object that they would pack for a loved one if he or she got deported or detained.  Organizers say they want do to this in order to humanize deportation.

“When we talk about hundreds of thousands of deportations, that means there is a person behind every single deportation, and there is a family behind that deportation, and family members are forced to pack a suitcase for a person they may never see again,” said one person at the event.

The Hudson Valley Community Coalition, a local social justice group, was at the event with the eight families of Westchester men who have been deported or detained.

Veronica Paute, an Ossining woman, says she plans to stay at the protest throughout the night. She says her brother faces deportation back to Ecuador as early as Saturday. He has been detained by ICE for months.

“I don't know what to do,” she said. “I don't know where to go. I don't know who to speak to.”

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