South Bend's Latino community pushes for immigration reform

NOW: South Bend’s Latino community pushes for immigration reform

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — President Donald Trump’s policy on separating undocumented children from their parents is putting pressure on U.S. Senators like Joe Donnelly.

Local advocates are urging the incumbent senator to push for comprehensive immigration reform as he eyes re-election in November.

“Now we’re at the point where it’s like this is just disgusting what’s happening and I think it’s hopefully motivating people to finally say, ‘I need to step up and I need to finally do something about it,’” said Sam Centellas, executive director of La Casa de Amistad.

Centellas says the many images released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), depicting of thousands of detained children of undocumented immigrants are disturbing.

According to the DHS, nearly 2 thousand kids have been separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border from mid-April to the end of May.

“It’s a negotiation with them, saying ‘oh this is horrible, right that your children have been taken from you? Well you either go back or your children or you keep waiting separated from your children,’” said Centellas.

Quite a bit of this criticism fell on the White House, but President Trump redirected the blame at Democrats in Congress in series of tweets on Monday.

Republican nominee for U.S. Senate Mike Braun also pushed lawmakers to act.

“[Braun] doesn’t want to see families separated, and he believes congress needs to step up and address this problem and secure our border,” said his spokesman Josh Kelly in a statement to ABC 57 News.

Senator Donnell announced he will co-sponsor Senate Bill 3036 also known as the Keeping Families Together Act.

It’s a bill that was introduced nearly two weeks ago that would limit the separation of families at ports of entry.

But Centellas would like to see more done.

“That’s a potential step but we got to get to comprehensive reform that really fixes the problem not just symptoms,” he said.

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