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'Lights for Liberty' vigil outside Portman's office among hundreds worldwide

Portman visits facilities, calls for humane treatment
Posted at 7:13 PM, Jul 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-12 23:07:44-04

Lisa Gregg and others gathered outside Sen. Rob Portman’s downtown office Friday to protest “inhumane conditions” in migrant detention centers along the southern border on the same day Portman was visiting those facilities.

“The whole thing just disgusts me," said Gregg, a member of United We Stand Cincinnati. “And I had to do something about it.

“I think it’s evil.”

While an international movement called “Lights for Liberty” held hundreds of similar, concurrent demonstrations to shine a light on conditions at those detention centers, Gregg said she despairs at “hearing about the kids dying, the kids not having toothbrushes, personal hygiene … separating kids from families.”

Meanwhile, Portman tweeted from the detention centers:

“I’d love if he would stand with us and be allies with the immigrants,” Gregg, who organized Friday's Cincinnati protest, said of Portman. “Hopefully, he’ll listen to his constituents because so far he has not done a thing.”

For the protesters, it’s about more than just “humane” treatment. They want to see detention centers abolished.

Gregg compared the treatment at U.S. border camps to the treatment at Nazi concentration camps. She takes it personally.

“I’m Jewish. And I know how hard it was. I had people in concentration camps,” Gregg said. “Even though the government says they’re not concentration camps, all the pictures and everything we’ve heard, they look like concentration camps to me.

“You do not need to keep them in a detention center,” she added.

The downtown protest arrived just two days ahead of scheduled raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which will focus on undocumented immigrants across the country.