Maine parents stage 'play date protests' in Susan Collins's offices to oppose migrant detention centers

Maine parents stage 'play date protests' in Susan Collins's offices to oppose migrant detention centers
© Aaron Schwartz

Protesters brought their children to several state offices operated by Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDemocrats spend big to put Senate in play Senate confirms Trump's 50th circuit judge, despite 'not qualified' rating Republicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial MORE (R-Maine) on Wednesday as part of "play date" demonstrations against the Trump administration's migrant policies.

Photos released by the group's organizers, Mainers for Accountable Leadership, showed dozens of protesters with small children and infants occupying Collins's offices in several cities, including Bangor and Portland.

ADVERTISEMENT

"After over a year of asking for an end to this policy it is clear that Senator Collins, who has been thanked by Trump for her cooperation and who voted to confirm [former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenTrump puts Kushner in charge of overseeing border wall construction: report Hillicon Valley: Google to limit political ad targeting | Senators scrutinize self-driving car safety | Trump to 'look at' Apple tariff exemption | Progressive lawmakers call for surveillance reforms | House panel advances telecom bills Minority lawmakers call out Google for hiring former Trump DHS official MORE]; the architect of this program, is complicit and responsible for the harm done to the families who came to our country to seek asylum," said Marie Follayttar, the group's director.

"She believes she can appropriate away a humanitarian crisis and an immigration policy she is unwilling to take action and change. Words are not enough," Follayttar added.

In an emailed statement to The Hill, Collins's communications director said the senator was "appalled" by the reports of the treatment of minors in the administration's facilities. 

The statement also pointed to Collins's recent support of legislation that provided funding for humanitarian aid for migrants at the border, among other provisions.

"Senator Collins has been appalled by reports about the conditions many children have been experiencing in custody at the border, including a lack of basic personal hygiene products like soap and toothpaste, and she has heard from many Mainers who share her concern. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, she voted to advance an emergency supplemental appropriations bill to address the border crisis, which passed by an overwhelming, bipartisan majority and was signed into law this week," Annie Clark told The Hill in a statement.

"Senator Collins believes we need comprehensive immigration reform, a better way of handling asylum claims, more immigration judges, a sensible system for guest workers, and a long-term solution for DREAMers, along with stronger border security," Clark added.

The demonstrations come as the Department of Homeland Security released new pictures this week showing overcrowding in migrant detention facilities, warning that the system is strained beyond the ability to effectively house detained asylum-seekers and other undocumented immigrants.