Immigration debate erupts on sidewalks of 7th Street

A U.S. immigration-policy protester, left, and a counter-protester at the corner of 7th and Philadelphia streets in downtown Indiana, July 12, 2019. Photos by Anthony Frazier,  Click to enlarge.

By David Loomis

INDIANA – A heated national debate over immigration on the U.S.-Mexico border echoed for an hour on opposite sidewalks in downtown Indiana on Friday evening.

Social media earlier in the week had promoted the 5:30-6:30 p.m. protest at IRMC Park.

Organizer Lynne Alvine addresses protesters rallying against U.S. immigration policy.

“We must protest these outrageous conditions that are causing unspeakable human suffering in our country,” read the invitation from  local activist Lynne Alvine, organizer of the Do Not Look Away — Stand up for Liberty event. “We will have local citizens speak to the issues and offer suggestions for action.”

The rally opposing reported inhumane conditions at federal detention centers for migrant children also drew counter-demonstrators who waved American flags and displayed Trump presidential campaign regalia.

Lillian O. Clemons, president of the Chevy Chase Community Action Council, protested federal immigrant-child-detention conditions on the nation’s Southwestern border.

Speeches by immigration-policy protesters on the west side of Seventh Street contended with chants of counter-protesters on the east side. A protest anthem on the west competed with patriotic anthems on the east.

Participants estimated the more diverse crowd opposing the administration’s controversial child-detention policies outnumbered the group supporting the administration’s actions by about 80 to 30.

Borough police were present. Officers did not intervene in the exchanges between opposing groups.

An Indiana borough police officer high-fives a young counter-demonstrator.


David Loomis, Ph.D., emeritus professor of journalism at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, is editor of The HawkEye.

The HawkEye invites comments on this and other issues of community interest. Email

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