A medicated border crossing, and lingering fear of deportation: Immigrant shares story at Morristown rally

Pro-immigration activists demonstrate outside Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen's Morristown office, June 29, 2018. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Pro-immigration activists demonstrate outside Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen's Morristown office, June 29, 2018. Photo by Bill Lescohier
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Cinthia Osorio came to America under sedation, using someone else’s birth certificate.

The medicine from a family acquaintance was to blunt the pain of being separated from her grandmother. Osorio was 3.

That was 20 years ago. Osorio fears being separated again.

Activist at Morristown immigration rally, June 29, 2018. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Activist at Morristown immigration rally, June 29, 2018. Photo by Bill Lescohier

“One day, maybe I will get deported… How long do I have…before my family and I are separated?” she said Friday outside Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s (R-11th Dist.) Morristown office.

The rally was one of more than 300 around the country organized by Lawyer Moms of America to protest the Trump administration’s separation of undocumented children and parents crossing the U.S. border from Mexico.

On Saturday, thousands participated in “Families Belong Together” protests nationwide.

Medicated crossing: Cinthia Osorio’s border story, June 29, 2018. Video by Bill Lescohier for MorristownGreen.com:

On June 20, 2018, Trump signed an executive order to end family separation, “a policy he previously claimed he had no authority to address,” stated an open letter to Congress from the nonpartisan Lawyer Moms group.

“We are not fooled by the Executive Order,” continued attorney Tovah Kopan, reading aloud the letter at Friday’s rally in Morristown. “It inexplicably ignores the plight of more than 2,300 migrant children who remain separated from their families. It makes no plan to reunite them with their families.”

A rooster version of President Trump, at Morristown immigration rally, June 29, 2018. Photo by Bill Lescohier
A rooster version of President Trump, at Morristown immigration rally, June 29, 2018. Photo by Bill Lescohier

The lawyers organization implored Congress to swiftly enact laws requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to reunite migrant children with their parents, and to safely house children whose parents cannot be located; and to stop the Department of Justice’s “zero tolerance” policy of jailing migrants for the misdemeanor of improper entry.

Frelinghuysen supported last week’s failed immigration “compromise” bill, which he described in an email Friday as an attempt to “modernize the nation’s broken and dysfunctional immigration system” and address the “wholly unacceptable family-separation crisis at the southwest border,” a policy he has labeled as “cruel.”

“As I have always said: we are a nation of immigrants. But we’re also a nation of laws, and Congress has a profound responsibility to control our own borders,” Frelinghuysen said. 

The chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, who will retire in January after 12 terms in Washington, said immigration laws need thorough review and extensive changes.

“However, first and foremost, we need to enforce our existing immigration laws and take all necessary steps to secure our borders,” Frelinghuysen said in a policy statement, citing his past votes to “increase sanctions against those who enter our country illegally” and end welfare and food stamp benefits for non-citizens.

Tovah Kopan reads letter to Congress from Lawyer Moms of America, June 29, 2018. Video by Bill Lescohier for MorristownGreen.com:

Osorio works for the Morristown-based Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center, which helped organize Friday’s rally with Action Together New Jersey

She said her family risked everything to flee domestic violence and poverty in Mexico, hoping for a better life in the U.S.

As a toddler, she briefly was separated from relatives who also made the dangerous journey.

Now, she said, the U.S. government is administering psychotropic drugs to tranquilize migrant children, without parental consent. 

Activists in Morristown protest Trump immigration policies, June 29, 2018. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Activists in Morristown protest Trump immigration policies, June 29, 2018. Photo by Bill Lescohier

With no path to citizenship, Osorio fears she or her loved ones could be deported at any time.

“I speak out despite this fear,” she said. “I speak out because I hope that one of you today can hear my testimony… please, stand up for us.”

Activists at Morristown immigration rally, June 29, 2018. Video by Bill Lescohier for MorristownGreen.com:

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2 COMMENTS

  1. It is disrespectful to display the US Flag upside down as a show of political protest. The Flag should only be displayed upside down in cases of extreme danger to life or property. It does not appear that a person standing on a street corner in Morristown NJ in a pair flip flops is in any form of extreme or dire distress, regardless of their political views.

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