Protesters urge Pa. reps not to support immigration crackdown

    Protesters around Pennsylvania spent Wednesday urging the commonwealth’s Republican US senators and congressional representatives not to support a budget bill that routes significant dollars toward enforcing immigration laws — including $1.6 billion to build a wall on the Mexican border.

    One group braved torrential rain to bring the message to Congressman Lou Barletta’s office in Harrisburg — and they even brought props.

    0WITFbarlottaprotestx1200Protesters wait their turn to file remarks with staff at Barletta’s Harrisburg office. (Katie Meyer/WITF)

    After waiting out a downpour, a handful of constituents, local organizers, and members of pro-immigration reform group CASA filed into the conservative Barletta’s quiet office.

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    They carried with them a box of shoes, which CASA regional director Elizabeth Alex said is a significant gesture.

    “These shoes are representing the empty shoes that are left behind when a family member is detained or deported by ICE,” she explained.

    The protesters were allowed into Barletta’s office two at a time to voice their concerns to a secretary, who said she’d pass their remarks along.

    Mike Buchanan, of Carlisle, said he’s unhappy the Trump administration is prioritizing its illegal immigration crackdown so strongly

    “I think too many people don’t realize how much it would cost — billions of dollars — to remove the people that are quite happy here and that contribute to America,” he said.

    His wife, Ellen Graham-Buchanan, agreed.

    “There’s cost involved with this,” she said. “They’re costs to people. And they need to remember this, and become a little more — how shall I say? — humane.”

    In a statement, Barletta said he supports his constituents’ right to protest peacefully.

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