Viatorians are called to embrace “those accounted of little importance,” and that’s just what they were doing Saturday when they attended a rally on the lawn of the Kankakee Courthouse, calling for an end to detention of immigrants in Kankakee County.
Pairs of shoes sat on the steps of the courthouse, symbolizing the people already lost to deportation. Demonstrators asked: Who will fill their shoes?
The organization, “Connect Kankakee,” planned the rally. They were responding to reports that Kankakee County officials want additional government funding to increase bed space in county facilities to detain additional immigrants. They also seek more funding to expedite deportations from the Kankakee Regional Airport.
Kankakee County already houses 150 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees at the site, and such an expansion would accommodate up to 500, making the jail one of the largest Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers in the state.
Organizers said the rally was meant to inform the community and hold county officials accountable. Kankakee County, they said, should not build financial solvency on the backs of those suffering from today’s aggressive ICE tactics.
Members of Connect Kankakee aim to promote cultural and ethnic diversity in the Kankakee area and Viatorians support them. Those in attendance included: Associates Ken and Michelle Barrie, Fr. John Peeters, Fr. Jim Fanale, Br. John Eustice, Fr. Corey Brost and Br. Michael Gosch.