Tens of thou­sands protest Trump immigration pol­icy

Fo­cus on midterms at hun­dreds of ral­lies in all 50 states

USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - FRONT PAGE - Doug Stan­glin and Ma­rina Pitof­sky

“We’ve got to get out and vote like we never voted be­fore. Don’t give up, don’t give in – keep march­ing.”

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.

WASH­ING­TON – Tens of thou­sands of peo­ple turned out from coast to coast Satur­day in “Fam­i­lies Be­long To­gether” ral­lies to protest the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s “zero tol­er­ance” immigration pol­icy and im­plore their fel­low cit­i­zens to turn out to vote in Novem­ber’s midterm elec­tions.

While the thrust of the nearly 750 marches and ral­lies was to de­fend the more than 2,000 chil­dren sep­a­rated from their par­ents at the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der, the tone was de­cid­edly po­lit­i­cal.

In At­lanta, Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights icon who once marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., was blunt: “We’ve got to get out and vote like we

never voted be­fore,” he said, prompt­ing chants from the crowd, “Vote! Vote! Vote!”

He roused the crowd by im­plor­ing them: “Don’t give up, don’t give in – keep march­ing.”

In Dal­las, where hun­dreds turned out down­town to call for a clear plan to re­unify fam­i­lies sep­a­rated the ad­min­is­tra­tion pol­icy, one sign said sim­ply: “Novem­ber is com­ing.”

In the na­tion’s cap­i­tal, thou­sands poured into Lafayette Square, across from the White House, to chant “We care” and “No Trump, No KKK, No Fas­cist USA.”

Pro­test­ers waved signs in English and Span­ish. One sign, sound­ing like a mother’s stern re­buke, read in Span­ish, “Trump te cal­mas o te calmo.” Trans­la­tion: “Calm down, Trump, or I will calm you down.”

An­other sign said, “Me­la­nia & Ivanka, stop the child abuse.”

While Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and first lady Me­la­nia Trump avoided the chants in Wash­ing­ton, the protests fol­lowed them to their week­end re­treat in Bed­min­ster, New Jersey.

Only a few miles from Trump Na­tional Golf Course, more than 100 pro­test­ers lined the side of a ma­jor New Jersey high­way wav­ing anti-Trump signs and chant­ing, “Where are the chil­dren!”

In Wash­ing­ton, Shel­ley Kohl, a re­tired busi­ness owner from John­son City, Ten­nessee, said she does not usu­ally en­gage in pol­i­tics, but the im­ages of chil­dren be­ing sep­a­rated from their par­ents mo­ti­vated her to travel here for the protests.

“Kids don’t be­long in cages. Fam­i­lies don’t be­long in cages, and kids ab­so­lutely don’t be­long be­ing re­moved from their fam­i­lies,” Kohl said.

In New York City, pro­test­ers at a Man­hat­tan park chanted, “Shame!” and “Shut de­ten­tion down” as they geared up to march across the Brook­lyn Bridge.

Epis­co­palian chap­lain Jenifer Gam­ber, 52, said she hoped to send a strong sig­nal to elected of­fi­cials about the pub­lic’s opin­ions on immigration.

“I am ap­palled at the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s treat­ment of peo­ple seek­ing asy­lum in the United States that crim­i­nal­izes asy­lum-seek­ing and sep­a­rates fam­i­lies,” Gam­ber said.

In El Paso, Texas, sev­eral hun­dred peo­ple took part in a rally at the front of the Paso del Norte in­ter­na­tional bridge down­town.

“Amer­ica will be de­fined by its bor­ders ... not by Trump and not by walls,” Fer­nando Gar­cia, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Bor­der Net­work for Hu­man Rights, one of the rally or­ga­niz­ers, told the crowd from the back of a pickup truck. “We are so tired of the racist, anti-im­mi­grant agenda of this ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“Im­mi­grants helped build our na­tion. Now, they come through the new El­lis Is­land,” he said as he pointed to the in­ter­na­tional port of en­try be­hind him, draw­ing cheers from the crowd.

Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren and Con­gress­man Joe Kennedy III, both Mas­sachusetts Democrats, at­tended a Bos­ton rally, with the sen­a­tor telling the crowd, “This is about chil­dren held in cages.” War­ren re­cently vis­ited a Bor­der Pa­trol pro­cess­ing cen­ter in McAllen, Texas.

Or­ga­niz­ers de­manded that lo­cal gov­ern­ment agen­cies stop co­op­er­at­ing with fed­eral immigration au­thor­i­ties.

JACK GRU­BER/USA TO­DAY

Pro­test­ers march dur­ing the Fam­i­lies Be­long To­gether rally Satur­day in Wash­ing­ton.

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