Viatorians were among the 250 people who protested Sunday outside of the Jerome Combs Detention Center in Kankakee, including Br. Michael Gosch, CSV, and Fr. Tom Long, CSV.
The protest was one of 50 around the country, timed around Tisha B’Av, the Jewish day of mourning, when leaders read from the Book of Lamentations and lament the destruction of the Jewish temples.
On Sunday, activists used the day to protest the treatment of immigrants, and specifically in Kankakee, where ICE is hoping to expand the facility to accept more immigrants.
Br. Gosch pointed out that the Jerome Combs Detention Center is home to several hundred immigrant men who are detained because of their immigration status. For most, he said, this will be the last home for many of them before being deported.
“A current resident of Viator House of Hospitality spent eight months in the facility before being released to us. He does not have fond memories of the facility, to say the least,” Br. Gosch said. “It is a shame that Kankakee County officials are exploiting the misery of immigrants to make money for the county.”
At Sunday’s vigil, protesters called upon County Board Chairman Andrew Wheeler to end the county’s collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) immediately.
The vigil, “How Desolate Lie Our Borders” was co-sponsored by Jewish and immigrant justice organizations, including Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants, of which the Viatorians are members.