A dozen people rallied on the steps of the Utah Capitol Wednesday, in protest of United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Sessions addressed a room full of law enforcement officers, as well as Gov. Gary Herbert and Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, about Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program that was revitalized by the Trump Administration in an effort to decrease violent crimes through a partnership between local police and federal prosecutors.
Sessions pointed to overall decreases in violent crime rates as proof that the program is working, but Megan Hafen, a member of Occupy ICE: SLC, disagreed.
“They still have children housed in jails. I found it ironic that he’s here supporting safe communities through police actions, yet it is law enforcement who have been destroying families and communities,” Hafen said.
Occupy ICE: SLC, was formed earlier this year in response to increased activity by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Another protester, Bountiful resident Carrie Valentine, also takes issue with immigration policy under Sessions. She said she believes in America but views the separation of families at the border as a low point in the country’s history.
“I can’t imagine if that was one of my kids, and the Statue of Liberty even says bring us your families, it’s a beacon of hope,” Valentine said. “America’s always been a melting pot of other people. We’re all, you and I, are immigrants.”
Another protester, Jade, attended the event in support of marginalized communities.
“His push for increased militarization and protection of law enforcement is only going to create more harm to our communities than good,” she said. “We believe that the communities should have a say in how they are policed and when and why.”
The participants hoped to go inside the halls of the Capitol building to protest Sessions, but were stopped by security as they tried to enter.
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