Hundreds protest immigration policy in Christiansburg
CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) -- More than 200 people gathered Wednesday, waving signs and chanting things like, "Families belong together," all in the hopes their message would ring clear with Congressman Morgan Griffith of Virginia's 9th District.
"We're here because this is our Congressman's office, who is completely unavailable," said demonstration participant Marian Mollin. "Doesn't do town halls, doesn't speak to us, so this is our way to speak to him, and therefore, the federal government."
June 20, 2018
The rally, organized by a group called "NRV Indivisible," was intended to bring attention to the separation of children from families at the border.
Griffith said he and other Republicans are working toward a solution.
"We'd like to solve the problem, even if we can only solve a part of it," he said. "I'd like to see us solving some of our immigration issues, from protecting our border, to making sure that we don't have families being separated over misdemeanor charges."
Though President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday, halting the splitting of families, many in the crowd said they believe more needs to be done.
"So he separates families, and then he says, 'Alright, I'll keep them both together in jail, in cages together.' That's not a solution to this problem," said Ryan Wesdock, the press secretary for the Green Party of Virginia.
Others, however, saw it as a first step.
"It's definitely better than separating kids," said demonstration participant Alexa Casey. "It shows there's some concession there and willingness to be able to say, 'OK, maybe you guys are right, we shouldn't separate kids from their parents.'"
While Griffith said he is hopeful, he has also criticized the motives of Democratic lawmakers.
"They want to keep this issue alive because it's the one thing they can go out and campaign on this fall and they want to keep it as a campaign issue," Griffith said.
The House is slated to consider legislation on Thursday.
There will be another demonstration on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. at the Radford Public Library, where Griffith's staff have scheduled office hours.