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Immigrant activists fight for the rights of detainees in SeaTac federal prison

SEATTLE -- Immigrant activists said Wednesday they will continue to fight for detainees’ rights after President Donald Trump signed a new executive order ending the separation of detained families.

Hundreds packed St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle to get the chance to ask lawyers about detained asylum-seekers who had been separated by their family, many detained at the SeaTac Federal Detention Center.

Activists say in total, there is about 200 asylum-seeking immigrants held in King and Pierce counties.

“We demand justice and fairness for all human beings,” said Nancy Ross, the Reverend Canon for St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral.

She says her church is a place of love and welcoming, but that for some immigrant members of her congregation, they have been feeling a different kind of emotion in recent weeks.

“There is fear. Every time something happens, the fear is ratcheted up,” said Ross.

During the briefing, many in attendance asked questions about what they can do to help detained asylum-seekers.

Ross says the overall answer to these questions is actually quite simple.

“That’s not who we are as Americans; it’s not how we are as Christians or any other faith traditions; it’s not how we are as human beings,” said Ross.

Two weeks ago, protesters rallied outside of the SeaTac Federal Detention Center in support of asylum-seekers inside.

Activists and la makers got the chance to go into the prison and talk to the detainees. Matt Adams was one of the activists who went inside.

“I’ve been doing immigrant rights work now for 20 years, and never in my lifetime have I seen this systematic separation of families,” said Adams.

He says he got the chance to speak to some of the women who were separated from their children after crossing the border.

“She just broke down crying, saying she didn’t know where he (her son) was at,” Adams said.

He says this is just one of dozens of similar stories.

“None of them have had the opportunity to speak with their children, they’re desperate to be reunited with them,” said Adams.

As of right now, there is no word if and when the parents held in King and Pierce counties will be reunited with their children.

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