After 25 people were arrested in downtown Los Angeles this week during a morning protest against the appearance of US Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the city, and the Trump Administration policy of separating undocumented families caught at the border, pro-immigrant groups are going back out into the streets again this Saturday, June 30.
The “Families Belong Together – Freedom for Immigrants March LA” will take place in downtown Los Angeles in solidarity with the more than 650 marches and rallies taking place across the country the same day.
The march here begins at 11 a.m. in front of City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street and ends in front of the immigration holding facility at Aliso and Alameda.
“This event will highlight the voices of immigrants and refugees and represent a wide and increasing show of support from Californians who reject the Trump Administration’s racism and xenophobia, and to emphasize that families belong together, not in jail,” the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles (CHIRLA) organization said in a statement.
Many of those detained in downtown LA on Tuesday, June 26, were pastors and members of Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE), which has denounced the government’s current policy.
“Our nation, with its promise of liberty and justice for all and with a Statue of Liberty proclaiming a warm welcome to immigrants, is disgraced by the use of Gestapo-style tactics to crush the spirits of thousands of parents and kill the futures of innocent children,” said Rabbi Jonathan Klein, executive director of CLUE.
“Until this war on immigrants is over, we will remain united in disgust of this abhorrent practice by a morally bankrupt administration, and we will do what we can to comfort our brethren.”
Sessions was in Los Angeles to take part in and deliver remarks at the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation’s Annual Luncheon Meeting at the Millennium Biltmore hotel, where once again he was surrounded by protesters.
Despite this, he emphasized that “As the President often says, ‘a country without borders is not a country,’” and noted that the Trump Administration is on the right side of the law.
“If we don’t fix our laws, then the flow of illegal immigration is not going to stop — and with it, the gangs, the drug cartels, and the human trafficking, including of children,” Sessions said.
He also noted “That’s why the President made clear that we are going to do everything in our power to avoid separating families—but we are still going to work to prosecute all of those who come here illegally.”
Also on Tuesday, a federal court judge in San Diego ordered the reunification of thousands of parents and children forcibly separated by the Trump administration.
The American Civil Liberties Union had sought the nationwide preliminary injunction to halt the practice and immediately reunite all the separated families. Thousands of families have been torn apart by this inhumane practice, which is designed to scare other families from seeking refuge in the United States.
U.S. District Court Judge Dana M. Sabraw said all children must be reunited within 30 days; children under five within 14 days; and all parents must be able to speak with their children within 10 days.
The court also prohibited any deportation of parents without their children, absent a knowing waiver. In the future, no child can be separated unless it is genuinely in the child’s best interest, such as a showing of a parent as abusive.
Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project who argued the case, said the ruling “is an enormous victory for parents and children who thought they may never see each other again. Tears will be flowing in detention centers across the country when the families learn they will be reunited.”
The Trump Administration’s policy of separating families has been met with nationwide and worldwide criticism, especially after reports indicated the government doesn’t even know where all the previously separated children are.
Gloria Saucedo, executive director of the Alianza Comunitaria Transnacional in Panorama City, said she’s very concerned about the long-term human and economic damage to the nation being caused by President Trump’s “un-American and cruel Zero Tolerance” immigration policy.
“I hope we use this immigration crisis to unite the American people like never before and that we vote in November in record numbers and take our US Congress back,” Saucedo said during a press conference in front of the Federal Building in downtown Los Angeles.
Added Juan Jose Gutierrez, a member of the Full Rights For Immigrants Coalition, “The very same week he signed his new immigration policy he called on the Department of Defense to ready its military facilities to house as many as 20,000 immigrant children and their families. What we are most concerned about is that President Trump is trading family separation for family internment.
“That has nothing to do with the ‘art of the deal’ and everything to do with a crude and un-American violation of the human rights of immigrant kids and their parents. We have to stop him and the sooner the better.”
The organizers of the Saturday marches and rallies have a list of demands under the umbrella “Families Belong Together”:
— Reunite families now.
—Permanently end family separation and immediately reunify those that have been separated. ICE must release parents immediately so they reunite with their children.
— End family detention. Children and families deserve due process, not indefinite imprisonment. Children do not belong in baby cages and internment-like camps. Family incarceration is not the solution to family separation.
— Reverse the Trump administration’s policy that created this crisis and chaos to begin with. Parents should not be criminally prosecuted for doing what all parents do, which is bring their children to safety.