Crowds Flood Cities Across The Country To Protest Separation Of Migrant Families

A view of the route for Saturday’s “Families Belong Together” march and rally in downtown D.C

Hundreds of marches took place across the United States on Saturday as thousands of people demanded the Trump administration reunite families separated at the U.S. -Mexico border.

Until Trump made the unilateral move, migrants who illegally crossed the border awaited trial and their children were being separated from them and detained in a separate facility. His "zero tolerance policy" led officials to take more than 2,000 children from their parents as they tried to enter the country illegally, majority fleeing violence, persecution or economic collapse in their home countries.

In Washington, a massive crowd gathered in Lafayette Park across from the White House in what was expected to be the largest of the day's protests.

In New York City, protesters shouted "Shut detention down", a reference to demonstrations held at ICE offices across the country.

"When people come into our Country illegally, we must IMMEDIATELY escort them back out without going through years of legal manoeuvring", he wrote.

Trump was already tweeting about immigration in the hours leading up to the march, referencing a growing call from immigration advocates to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

There were celebrity marchers, including comedian Amy Schumer and "Scandal" star Kerry Washington, who said the country was in a "time of vast crisis", and an Episcopal priest who declared Trump's immigration policies were ungodly and un-American.

In the president's hometown of New York City, thousands of marchers gathered at Foley Square before crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and rallying at Cadman Plaza in sweltering 90-degree heat.

"Parents should not be criminally prosecuted for doing what all parents do, which is bring their children to safety", a statement from "Families Belong Together" obtained by NBC News said.

Their chant "Say it loud, say it clear, immigrants are welcome here" echoed through the building, drawing scores of Senate staff to upper mezzanine floors from where they watched the commotion. "Concentration Camps?" and "I care, do you?" in reference to a jacket first lady Melania Trump wore recently on a trip to visit child migrants. Manali Nekkanti said she couldn't imagine having her daughter taken from her and isolated in detention.

That passion is heartening for the broader anti-Trump coalition, which hopes marches will attract people who have otherwise been on the sidelines, said David S. Meyer, a political science professor at the University of California, Irvine, who has authored books on United States political protest.

"I'm afraid they will take away my mom while she is at work, out driving or at home". "Our government has to do the right thing and stop separating us from our parents and stop locking us up".

The feds separated more than 2,500 children from their parents at the border in the last three months.

In the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, about 50 activists marched through downtown and travelled on to an worldwide bridge, holding banners against the border wall Trump wants to build and militarization of the areas alongside it.

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