Coast-to-coast protests denounce Trump immigration policies

Sunday, 01 Jul, 2018

Thousands are expected to turn out for the protests, which are part of a nationwide "Families Belong Together" action, with an anchor protest in Washington D.C.'s Lafayette Park.

Almost 600 protesters were arrested during a clangorous occupation of a US Senate office building in Washington on Thursday, where they decried US President Donald Trump's "zero- tolerance" stance on illegal immigration.

The president has faced renewed backlash in recent weeks over his administration's "zero tolerance" policy at the US border, which has resulted in the separation of families.

After repeated calls from the police demanding that they leave the premises or face arrest, officers were forced to move in, detaining at least 575 activists for "unlawful demonstration", AP reported.

In this photo people who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States, sit in one of the cages at a facility in McAllen, Texas, June 17, 2018.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) makes arrests and otherwise enforces the administration's immigration crackdown, but an emerging coalition of politicians, activists and pro-immigrant protesters has begun calling for the agency to be dismantled.

"This issue really affects so many families and it's so important, and this administration has really taken it to levels that we just can't stand for, even though it has a longer history in this country", Omeish said.

Cheered on by some Democratic lawmakers who walked among them, the women said they were pushed to the protest by President Trump's zero tolerance policy which sparked separations of children from their parents. Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys brought her 7-year-old son, and read a letter written by a woman whose child had been taken away from her at the border. "And reunify the children with their parents", according to organizers. "Let them go!" a sign in Washington said.

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But the states say his order is riddled with caveats and fails to reunite parents and children who have already been torn apart. On June 20, Trump walked back the policy by issuing an executive order allowing families to remain together in detention.

Mr Trump has halted his policy of taking children from their detained parents under public pressure but around 2,000 of them are still being held, with many families saying they've not known how to locate them.

Some 2,000 children remain split from their parents, according to official figures released last weekend in the wake of global outrage over the stripping of minors from their parents believed to have crossed illegally at the US-Mexico border. "Reunite families now; end family internment camps and end the zero-humanity policy that created this humanitarian crisis and chaos in the first place".

"As a nation and a people we can do better", Lewis said.

In Los Angeles, Angelica Salas said she has been marching to fix the immigration system for almost two decades.

She said organizers have notified police about their plans and expect the rally to remain peaceful.

Jayapal said she was asked to speak at the demonstration called by women at the Hart Senate Office Building on Thursday, reports The Seattle Times.

"The whole political atmosphere is an issue for me", he said.