Dozens of rallies took place across the country on Thursday to protest the Trump administration’s family separation policy for asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border. Progressive groups organized “Families Belong Together” events — or, in Spanish, “Familias Unidas No Divididas“ — in dozens of cities, as well as a virtual “lunchtime” for activists who were unable to attend a rally in person.
President Donald Trump‘s administration has recently implemented a policy of separating children from their parents as they attempt to enter the United States seeking asylum. They’re splitting up families, typically, by charging parents with illegal entry into the US and sending them into criminal custody. Agents treat the children of the detained parents as if they were “unaccompanied alien children” who had tried to enter the United States alone.
The policy has sent shock waves around the country, igniting outrage on the part of immigration advocates, human rights groups, and citizens across the political spectrum. Multiple reports of uniquely aggressive or inhumane treatment have added fuel to the fire, including a Honduran man who died by suicide less than a day after being separated from his wife and 3-year-old child by Border Patrol agents, and a Honduran woman who says officials took her daughter away while she was breastfeeding her in a detention center.
The “Families Belong Together” rallies aimed to draw attention to the administration’s family separation policy and inspire more people to do something about it. (Vox’s Dara Lind has a full explainer on Thursday’s events.) They come a day after a group of eight House Democrats on Wednesday blocked off a city street in Washington, DC, to protest the policy.
Here was the scene in Boston.
This is about resisting racist policies. If I’m telling the truth, this is not a new story. We are losing our global standing in the world because we are losing our compassion. —@AyannaPressley PREACHING #FamilesBelongTogether #keepfamiliestogether pic.twitter.com/tyhVW4q72d— ️ Kim ️ 202-224-3121 (@kimleonard) June 14, 2018
There was also a rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where Attorney General Jeff Sessions was giving a speech.
At the jeff sessions protest. pic.twitter.com/s3FRMs0OxT— Nan Nesbitt (@COUNTRYMOMCAT) June 14, 2018
Sessions protest Fort Wayne. Elliot and Tate at their first protest. pic.twitter.com/AVnqJOGEi6— Nan Nesbitt (@COUNTRYMOMCAT) June 14, 2018
Rallygoers also snapped shots in Seattle.
And in San Francisco.
And New York.
The activist group Voto Latino invoked the upcoming Father’s Day holiday in its Thursday event with multiple lawmakers.
Fathers and Congressmen are standing together on the eve of #FathersDay to continue urging the @realDonaldTrump administration to stop separating families. Retweet to fight back! #FamiliesBelongTogether pic.twitter.com/u6WTXNyDKe— Voto Latino (@votolatino) June 14, 2018
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) tweeted that 40 senators now support a bill to stop kids from being taken from their parents at the border.
UPDATE: 40 senators now support our bill to bar children from being taken from their parents at the border. We’re continuing to ask Republican senators to join our bill. If you’re represented by a Republican senator, please ask them to cosponsor S.3036. #FamiliesBelongTogether— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) June 14, 2018
In recent days, celebrities have spoken out about the issue as well.
Dear Republicans: If you care about saving money by reducing welfare, why do you separate immigrant children from their families and house them in a de facto prison? Give them back to their parents!— Chance The Rapper (@ChanceFrom79th) June 14, 2018
1) Call your reps at (202) 224-3121- tell them to END the separation of families at the border (ask your Senators to pass the Keep Families Together Act and your House Rep to pass the HELP Separated Children Act).— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) June 14, 2018