Sunday, September 26, 2021

Thousands protest against separation of undocumented immigrant families in US

Los Angeles, USA, Jun 14 (EFE).- Thousands of protesters took to the streets on Thursday in almost 80 cities across the United States to condemn the government’s decision to separate immigrant families arrested at the border.

“This call is not only for the government but also for the American society so that they will understand that what we are doing to these children and these mothers is inhumane,” Karla Estrada, founder of UndocuTravelers, one of the groups participating in the nationwide protest convened by the Families Belong Together organization, told EFE.

Estrada participated in the rally held at McArthur Park, a meeting point for the Central American community in Los Angeles, where many immigrants who crossed the border illegally gathered and showed their support for the undocumented.

“It’s a matter of life or death,” Salvadoran Maria Urque, who crossed the southern border of the US with her family in the 1980s, told EFE, adding that the measures of the administration of US President Donald Trump are not going to stop immigration.

California was probably the state that saw the most demonstrations on Friday, with immigrant advocates, religious groups, labor unions, Democratic lawmakers and students joining the protests in around 18 cities.

In every demonstration, the participants called for the release of the minors held in custody and also condemned the government’s plan to put up tents on army bases to house the children.

The US capital also saw several demonstrations, one of which was a sit-in protest led by Democratic congressmen, such as Luis Gutierrez, John Lewis, Raul Grijalva, Jan Schakowsky, Pramila Jayapal and Joe Crowley, in front of the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) headquarters.

“We want these babies free now,” shouted activists such as Gustavo Torres, from CASA of Maryland.
The CBP recently informed Congress that between May 7 and 21, 658 children were separated from 638 adults.

“The crisis was not caused by Congress but by President Trump,” Nevada Democratic legislator Catherine Cortez Masto said, stressing that an order from Trump to stop the “imprisonment” of minors and return them to their parents would be enough.

“Separating families is not only inhumane, it also goes against everything we uphold as a country,” she said.
Republican strongholds, such as Texas, also saw protests. One of them was held on the steps of the state Capitol, in Austin, and brought together almost 500 people who also went on to call for another massive mobilization on the midterm US elections day in November.

“I can’t vote, but I can mobilize the people to vote for the ones that welcome immigrants with dignity and equality,” said Daniela, a Colombian immigrant who was part of the demonstration.

The Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) organization on Friday also launched an online campaign to collect 50,000 signatures calling for the government to end its hard-line immigration policy.