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Cleveland, OH – Cleveland.com is reporting that Senator Sherrod Brown has strongly denounced yesterday’s aggressive, military-style raids on the Corso’s Flower and Garden Center in Sandusky and Castalia, calling them “immoral” and an “insane policy.” Sabrina Eaton reports:
“Tearing families apart will not fix our broken immigration system,” said Brown. “It will mean more problems for all of us. There is no good reason, ever, to separate children from their parents.” “I don’t want to be the kind of country where federal agents split families up and send kids who knows where without being able to account for them,” said Brown, who is running for re-election this year against GOP Rep. Jim Renacci of Wadsworth.
To our knowledge, Sen. Brown is the first member of the Ohio congressional delegation to speak out publicly against the raid.
“Senator Brown is right. From the military-style tactics used to aggressively arrest humble workers, to the despair so many Ohio parents and children are now feeling upon being so cruelly separated, he is absolutely correct that these raids are immoral and unAmerican,” said Lynn Tramonte, Director of America’s Voice Ohio. “Senator Brown has spoken up, and it’s time for the rest of the Ohio delegation–particularly Senator Portman and the House members who represent workers in this area, like Reps. Kaptur and Gibbs–to take a stand. Military-style raids are all about splashy press hits and sending a message of force. They have nothing to do with fixing an immigration system in need of an overhaul, or carrying out a fair and balanced approach to enforcing immigration laws.”
Earlier today, the Norwalk Reflector published a harrowing first-hand account of a U.S. citizen, Rodolfo Reyes, who was detained while working at Corso’s:
Reyes said when the police burst through the doors with weapons and police K-9s “everybody panicked because it scared them” and they began to run. He said the police kept shouting “this is a search warrant” but “wouldn’t say what the search warrant was for.”
“The police were real, real, real rough with the people,” he said.
“They had an older man who was 50 or 60 years old; they put zip ties on him too. Then an old woman, she was running. She said ‘I see everybody running, so why wouldn’t I run. I didn’t know what was going on.’ Then they started to go through all of our things and they put us in groups of like five and started taking people out.”
….“I know they’re doing their job and some of them are not U.S. citizens, but we are human,” Reyes said. “We should be treated like human beings, not animals. I am a U.S. citizen. But it doesn’t matter where you are or who you are or where you are from. We are supposed to be treated like humans. We shouldn’t be treated like animals. Everybody was running, and they were throwing dogs on the people and pointing guns. That’s ridiculous. That’s too much.”
Reyes said some workers tried to use their cell phones to take photos or videos of the raid, but police “wouldn’t allow” them to use or have their phones and “started pointing their guns at us again.” Reyes said the agents then confiscated some of the devices.
He said the agents separated the men and women, putting the women, including his daughter, “in another place.” He said he knew not to run, but was fearful for his daughter. He said he thought of the recent events that happened at the border in Texas, where a woman tried to run from police. An officer accidentally fired at the woman and killed her.
“What if another accident happens here because they want to point the guns at people,” Reyes said.
“I didn’t think they could arrest me because we are U.S. citizens. My biggest concern was my daughter with the lady who was shot in the head for running. I kept thinking ‘Did my daughter (try to run)? Is she OK?’ I asked one of the police if she was OK and ‘Could I see my daughter?’ … He said ‘Your daughter is not a baby anymore.’ But you’re always a parent and my daughter is still my daughter. She’s still going to be my baby.”
“Family unity used to be an American value. Now, under the Trump Administration, your family and indeed your humanity only appear to matter if you were born north of the Rio Grande,” Tramonte continued. “Destroying Ohio families and devastating children is a terrible way to use American tax dollars. Our representatives in Congress need to be demanding answers and tightening the reins on ICE and the Border Patrol, immediately. The people affected by yesterday’s raid are these congress members’ constituents, as well as hard workers, beloved parents and spouses, and human beings who deserve to be treated with dignity.”