Solidarity: Thousands Denounce Trump's Ugly Family Separation Regime

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Donald Trump backs off deranged policy. How do we reunite torn families? Photo Gage Skidmore--Flickr.

Thousands of people rallied and marched in support of immigrant families and to condemn the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policies, on Saturday.

The Protect Families March and Rally, organized by dozens of advocacy groups, legal and immigrants’ rights organizations, trade unions, and concerned citizens, set off from Foley Square and marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to gather for a rally and speaking program in Cadman Plaza, in Brooklyn.

Last week, President Trump issued an executive order to end his own policy of separating families at the southern border, however he has not offered an effective plan to reunite loved ones.

The continued incarceration of children – even with their parents – is both unlawful and traumatizing. Hundreds of migrant children have been relocated to New York facilities across the state, including in New York City. Amid the public outrage over the Trump administration’s inhuman immigration policies, the administration continues to pursue using immigrant children as pawns to gain support for building a border wall and limiting legal immigration – including asylum.

Advocates and community members leading the march and rally have strongly condemned Trump's outrageous policy.

"It is heartbreaking to see children being separated from their families," said Perla Lopez, Youth Organizer at Make the Road New York. "I know first hand how traumatic it feels to be separated from your mother; at age 10, I did not know when would be the next time I will be reunited with my family. These detention facilities are no place for children or for families. We must work together to make sure that all immigrants are safe and free and put an end to the xenophobic and racist policies that are being led by this administration."

Estela Vasquez, Executive Vice President, 1199SEIU said: “The 450,000 healthcare workers of 1199SEIU are sickened by this administration’s inhumane and racist mistreatment of the immigrants who form the rich fabric of our nation. As an immigrant myself, like many in our union, my heart hurts when I think about the babies ripped from their parents arms at our border, the families separated by oceans because of the Islamophobic Muslim ban. Are we returning to the days of slavery and Japanese internment camps?”

"Moving kids from kennels to jails, with their parents, is not a real solution to this problem," said Alison Hirsh, 32BJ SEIU Vice President and Political Director. "I have two toddlers. But because of the color of my skin and the happenstance is my birth, I don’t fear that they will be taken from me, or me from them.Too many members of our community don’t have that privilege.”

"We stand in solidarity with New York’s immigrant communities, and pledge to do everything in our power to fight the Trump administration’s racist agenda," said Shannon Stagman, Organizer and Leader with Empire State Indivisible. "In the Indivisible movement, we believe in communicating directly with our elected officials and holding them accountable for representing us. Our representative is the minority leader of the Senate..."

Carola Bracco, Executive Director of Neighbors Link, said “Using children as pawns to achieve a policy win is unconscionable and the change in policy to keep families together but still incarcerated is not acceptable. We need our elected leaders to lead and forge a measured and reasoned path toward creating holistic and humane immigration policy that is in keeping with American values.”

Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said: "The Trump regime is doing everything it can to divide immigrant families and drive them away. The current crisis will not end until every child that has been separated is reunited with their parents, every family is treated with dignity and due process, and our immigration policies reflect our values. New Yorkers will continue hitting the streets, the phones and the ballot boxes to make our message heard: families belong together.”

"By forcibly ripping families apart at the border, the Trump administration showed the world how morally bankrupt it truly is," said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. "The New York Immigration Coalition is proud to have worked with our members, partners and allies to organize tens of thousands of people rallying in New York and across the nation, making clear that the public has zero tolerance for Trump’s zero tolerance policy. We urge everyone to demand action from their elected officials to end family separation and incarceration. What is happening defies all moral decency, and we will not stand idly by."

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