Tens of thousands protest Trump immigration policy
Focus on midterms at hundreds of rallies in all 50 states
“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.
Protesters march during the Families Belong Together rally Saturday in Washington.