WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — A small group of protesters gathered outside the regional offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Wednesday night, asking for change in the way immigrants and asylum seekers are being treated at the United States-Mexico border.
“They are real-life people with real-life experiences,” said Sanne Siale, one of the event’s organizers. “This is really happening. The treatment of the families we are seeing here, at our own border, is real and is inhumane.”
Organizers said it is no coincidence they chose Pioneer Day to have their voices heard.
“The reasons they are fleeing for a better life are no different than the historical reasons that we saw with Mormon pioneers,” Siale said. “With what's going on at our border, we wanted to make that connection to give sort of a wake-up call.”
They hope the historical parallels will resonate with Utahns.
“There is a reason why we chose to do it on this day, specifically to make the connection for people here,” Siale said.
Many of the activists planned on spending the night on the sidewalk wrapped in mylar blankets, which are the same blankets immigrants are given in detention centers.