Above: Families with children occupy 9th floor of ICE headquarters in New York City. From Twitter @One_Buzz.
Note: There were also mass protests at LaGuaradia Airport in New York City where people waited for immigrant children to arrive on their way to detention in New York. People wanted to show solidarity with them and let them know that many people in the United States cared about them. And, they wanted to show widespread opposition to Donald Trump’s Zero Tolerance policy against immigrants that resulted in children being separated from their families and now will result in indefinite detention of entire families.
“This is what solidarity looks like.” Right now at LaGuardia. Our tax dollars have funded the terrorization of families seeking refuge. Let’s keep showing up people #FamilesBelongTogether pic.twitter.com/hoiU8cwA6K
— Baratunde (@baratunde) June 21, 2018
Happening NOW at LaGuardia Airport in NYC: citizens gathering to greet kids separated from their parents by the Trump administration #FamiliesBelongTogether #FreedomforImmigrants pic.twitter.com/sRXpR7Ndq8
— ACLU (@ACLU) June 21, 2018
There were also protests at the White House.
— Generation Progress (@genprogress) June 21, 2018
And protests around the country.
— ?Morpheus Resists? (@WomanResistorNC) June 20, 2018
— Action Together (@GrandStrandAT) June 20, 2018
Sit-in starting in the halls of the MA State House!! We support #SafeCommunitiesAct!! It's time for MA to act to protect our immigrant communities!! #EndFamilySeparation #StopFamilySeparation #FamilesBelongTogether pic.twitter.com/vAaVfgsDvA
— Martha Neuman (@MWNeuman) June 20, 2018
— Christy Chavis (@christychavisaz) June 18, 2018
And, the TIME Magazine cover of Trump looking down at an immigrant child, has gone viral.
Time Magazine’s cover from the July 2, 2018 issue features President Donald Trump looking down at the young migrant girl from a photograph that went viral. #KidsInCages #FamilesBelongTogether @realDonaldTrump pic.twitter.com/eQCwoB77h3
— LGBT Puerto Rico (@lgbtpr) June 21, 2018
People Call for Swift Reunification of Children with their Families and an Immediate End to Trump’s heartless “Zero Tolerance” Policy
Hundreds of families gather outside ICE offices in support of immigrant families and asylum seekers
On June 21, 2018, dozens of parents and babies took over the offices of Thomas R. Decker, New York field office director for ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations in protest of the Trump administration’s heartless separation of children from their families. Local children sang together and drew on paper hearts to leave behind in support of the more than 2,000 boys and girls torn from their families as a result of the Trump administration’s horrific “zero tolerance” policy.
These parents dismissed President Trump’s executive order as a ploy for whole families to be unjustly and unnecessarily – and potentially indefinitely – detained, noting that thousands of children had still not been reunited with their families, and that just last night dozens of children ripped from their parents’ arms at the border arrived in NYC airports and were headed to detention centers thousands of miles away from their loved ones.
“Our families are not fooled by yesterday’s executive order: it will only lead to more detention and further mistreatment of families,” said Jodeen Olguín-Talyer, mother of 11-month-old Alejandro who was with her at the protest. “This crisis of family separation is one of Trump’s own making. The Trump administration criminalizes and inflicts terror on immigrant families in order to advance their agenda of mass deportations.” Clutching tightly to her baby, she said: “These are families aren’t criminals, they are mothers, fathers, daughters, babies who are crossing borders to flee violence and poverty.”
The action, which the parent-organizers planned in just 36 hours, brought together concerned families and children from all over New York City through word of mouth and quick mobilization. Many expressed horror at hearing the Trump administration has no plans to reunite the more than 2,000 children now in detention, and that some children may never see their families again.
“I had to do something,” said Margot Brandenburg, a mother holding her 14-month-old baby. “I can’t stay silent as the so-called leadership of this country dehumanizes and cages human beings. I just hope that as people continue to see the brutality of Trump’s inhumane deportation force enough of us will speak out and take action. My kids are not going to stop fighting. I’ll be taking all three of them – ages 14 months, 3 and 9 years old – to the massive protest in Washington DC next week.”
“We wanted to take action with our children — as families — to show the next generation that we stand against hate and take a stand for what’s right,” said Ilana Berger, one of the organizers of today’s action. “Every day I think about the world we’re leaving for our kids. I want them to inherit not just a better society but also the knowledge that they have the power – and the responsibility – to make a better world for all of us. We are creating toolkits for other parents and children to be able to organize a protest in their own communities. We all have a role to play.”
Others pointed to the damage already done and the lack of a clear plan for reunification.
Jess Morales-Rocketto, Political Director with the National Domestic Workers’ Alliance was at both today’s protest and the protest at the Texas-US border on Saturday. “The crying, inconsolable children we heard; the toddlers behind wire fences; the rows of young boys on cots under aluminum blankets – these young people may never recover from the trauma of being separated from their parents and relatives.”
When asked about Trump’s announcement yesterday Morales-Rocketto responded: “The fight to end family separation and detention is not over. We will not rest until every single child is reunited with their parents, and until the zero tolerance policy that created this crisis is overturned. President Trump and Attorney General Sessions are lying to the American people, and we must continue to shine the light of truth. That’s why we are organizing mass protests on June 30: we expect hundreds of thousands to participate in marches and protests across the country.”
“I’m horrified at the thought of someone taking my child. I’ve heard from the parents and children who’ve been separated, are traumatized and without any indication of how they will be reunited. It breaks my heart as a mother, as a daughter, and as a human being. As parents, we are here with our babies because our children see the truth and we think they can help other people see it as well. What’s happening is wrong. No child, no family, should be punished for trying to find a safe place to live” said Olguín-Tayler as she held her 11-month-old son.
“As my 6-year-old niece told me, ‘All families love. All families hold hands, no matter where they come from. No more locking people up.’”
Organizers of the action also invited others around the country to join them in taking action with their families, calling on DHS and ICE officials and their members of Congress to stop locking people up, stop criminalizing immigrants and terrorizing families and communities.