Hundreds join 'Families Belong Together' march, rally in Lafayette

Clay Curtis
July 1, 2018

"It's been incredibly heartbreaking to see children being held in detention centers and being put in court rooms by themselves".

Thousands turned out for nationwide "Families Belong Together", rallies to protest Donald Trump's immigration policy and urge citizens to vote in November midterm elections.

Although Trump signed an executive order June 20 ending the family separation, the rallies will continue today in protest of the administration's immigration policies.

Demonstrators want a plan to reunite the families torn apart.

For events in NY and Washington, D.C., check the Families Belong Together website.

Numerous protesters came armed with colorful mostly handmade signs bearing such messages as "Where are the children? Where are American values?", "Be Kind", and "Babies should not be hostages" while some displayed biblical verses.

Valdez is an immigrant, and was undocumented for most of her life. "We now have time, resources and a lot of energy".

Immigration attorney Linda Rivas said groups had met with United States authorities, congressional representatives and other leaders to discuss an escalating immigration crackdown that they said began decades ago.

Jayapal later spoke out on her arrest, and called her detainment "courageous".

After the rally, at least 200 of the protesters continued the march to Portland's regional Immigration and Customs Enforcement office on SW Macadam Ave, where they joined the group of protesters who've been camping out next to the facility for almost two weeks.

"We have to let them know we will not accept this", McKinnon said.

He explained his wife is from Venezuela and is trying to become a USA citizen. They simply sat in a shady spot with their 3-month-old daughter, Hope, and explained how personal experience has shaped their views. Meanwhile, illegal immigrants are just crossing the border and receiving public benefits. We can't do it.

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The women first demonstrated outside the Justice Department before marching to the Capitol, where they took over the atrium and mezzanine of the Hart Senate Office Building.

"As a direct result of the Trump administration's policy choices, there is a human rights disaster of epic proportions happening at our border", said Lorella Praeli, director of immigration policy and campaigns at the American Civil Liberties Union - another major organizer of the protests - in a statement last week announcing the demonstrations. Ocampo said he was pleased the Families Belong Together rally was "a complete success".

Three of his four children were born in the US, making them citizens, but Vicuna, who works in the cleaning business, his wife, and one of his two sons were born in Mexico.

"Asylum seekers are not criminals", said one.

Madison Ramsey, 23, of Harrisburg, came with her friend Rachel Parthemer, 22, who traveled from Williamsport to participate in the rally.

"I'm a Republican", said demonstrator Steve Wilson. "I think we are in a position to be able to help these people and do something about it". "It is a fundamental problem for us as a species".

Parthemer agreed with her friend that the way Mexican families are being separated is wrong and came to the rally to take a stand against it.

Marcy Jankovich said she and other Trump supporters want the USA borders secure. "I feel it's wrong to be thinking this way but sitting on my hands and doing nothing about it". "Now that I have a kid, I hate having her go through this now".

"I can't imagine what it would be like living in Mexico when half my family is still here", his father said. "So I'm very concerned about this".

"Forcibly separating children from their parents is not about 'deterrence, ' or the legal technicalities of law, or illegal immigration, or anything else President Trump has claimed to justify his latest and most odious outrage", the daily wrote.

"As far as I'm concerned, this is a national emergency that we all need to be focused on right now", added co-organiser Erin Conroy.

U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin and U.S. Reps. C. A. End the "zero-humanity" policy that created this crisis. Several elementary school-aged children sat with their parents in "Families Belong Together" T-shirts.

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