Tens of thousands of Americans took to the streets this weekend in more than 700 cities throughout the country to demand that children separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border be reunited with their families.
Noted celebrities to attend the rally in Washington, DC included singer Alicia Keys, actresses America Ferrera and Diane Guerrero, and “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.
“We’re here because there are parents out there who can’t sing lullabies to their kids, so we’re going to sing on their behalf until they can sing together,” said Miranda.
Rep. Maxine Waters, who spoke to protestors in Los Angeles, called to impeach Trump and accused him of putting children in cages and jails. “How dare you?” asked Waters. “How dare you take the babies from mothers’ arms? How dare you take the children and send them all across the country into so-called detention centers?”
The demonstrations, which took place in both liberal and conservative regions, represent the public outcry against the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on illegal immigration. Under the policy, which was implemented about two months ago, officials have separated more than 2,000 children from their parents after their families crossed illegally into the US from Mexico.
Saturday’s rallies received funding and support from groups including MoveOn.org, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and The Leadership Conference. Organizations demanded the Administration reunite all separated families within the deadlines assigned by a California federal judge last week.
“We’re hoping to send a strong message to the Administration that we will not allow for these atrocities and attacks on children and families to continue and that we are broad and united across many geographies and experiences in this country,” said National Domestic Workers Alliance Director Ai-jen Poo. “This is a moment for everyday people to take back the country.”
Author’s Note: The Trump Administration received fierce criticism after images and videos of children crying for their parents went viral – but family separation is not a new policy.
It has always been the policy to separate children from parents when those parents commit a crime. The only thing that has really changed under President Trump is that more parents are being prosecuted for entering the country (instead of being let go with their families).
â€¨Trump addressed the issue last Wednesday by signing an executive order banning ICE from separating children from their parents at the border. “I don’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated,” he said. “I think anybody with a heart would feel strongly about it. We don’t like to see families separated.”
At the same time, Trump made it clear that his “zero tolerance” policy would remain in effect. “When people come into our country illegally, we must IMMEDIATELY escort them back out without going through years of maneuvering,” he said. “Our laws are the dumbest anywhere in the world. Republicans want strong borders and no crime. Dems want open borders and are weak on crime.”