On Saturday, hundreds of thousands across the country turned out for their local Keep Families Together march, with 25,000 taking part in the NYC march. The National Day of Action denounced the Trump administration's immigration policy, and called for the reuniting of families who have been separated at the border. This came at the end of what The Atlantic calls "one of the worst single weeks for progressive policy in decades" — protest signs reflected this, along with rally calls to get out and vote in November's midterm elections.
The march began at Foley Square in Manhattan just before 11 a.m., and made its way across Brooklyn Bridge. The whole thing ended in Brooklyn's Cadman Plaza with a rally. While the rally was set to conclude around 1 p.m., the amount off people who showed up led to a bottleneck situation on the bridge, and the last marchers weren't able to step off from Foley Square until 2 p.m. Despite the heatwave, the large groups in Lower Manhattan, on the bridge, and in Brooklyn held strong.
There were a number of speakers at the rally in Cadman Plaza, including Ravi Ragbir (New Sanctuary Coalition), Padma Lakshmi, Amy Schumer, Al Sharpton, Rama Issa (Arab American Association of NY), Kerry Washington, and U.S. House Representatives Yvette Clarke, Carolyn Maloney, Nydia Velázquez, Jerrold Nadler, and Adriano Espaillat. Washington gave an impassioned speech (watch it here), declaring, "I will not stand for somebody else turning this country further down the road of racism and disenfranchisement — enough is enough!"
In Los Angeles, Lin-Manuel Miranda dedicated a song to the families who have been separated, saying, "We're here because there's parents right now who can't sing lullabies to their kids."
The massive family separation rally drew 25,000 attendees standing in solidarity against tearing apart immigrant families. Among those were some celebrity guests like @TheRevAl, @amyschumer, @PadmaLakshmi, and @kerrywashington ! #EndFamilySeparation #FamiliesBelongTogether pic.twitter.com/xRmLWOYUMr
— New York Immigration Coalition (@thenyic) June 30, 2018
Hundreds of children who have been forcibly separated from their parents at the U.S. border have been transported to NYC. On Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio (speaking on The Brian Lehrer Show) said, "I think that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is right. We should abolish ICE. We should create something better, something different... It is broken. ICE has been sent on a very negative, divisive mission, and it cannot function the way it is."
Separating families seeking asylum at the border is not the only way ICE has been taking parents from their children; last week, Gothamist spoke with Vivian Martinez, a U.S. citizen and longtime Queens resident whose husband had been detained by ICE during a routine green card interview. She was informed by an ICE agent of a "new policy" aimed at detaining the spouses of U.S. citizens who pursue a legal pathway to permanent residency status, according to a lawsuit filed on Friday by the ACLU and NYCLU.
Ahead of the nationwide marches on Saturday, Trump tweeted, "The Democrats are making a strong push to abolish ICE, one of the smartest, toughest and most spirited law enforcement groups of men and women that I have ever seen. I have watched ICE liberate towns from the grasp of MS-13 & clean out the toughest of situations... To the great and brave men and women of ICE, do not worry or lose your spirit. You are doing a fantastic job of keeping us safe by eradicating the worst criminal elements. So brave! The radical left Dems want you out. Next it will be all police. Zero chance, It will never happen!"
Vox notes that the Trump administration is "arguing that a court order preventing family separation gives them the legal power to [hold families in detention centers]. In federal court Friday night, Trump’s Department of Justice, led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, filed an announcement that it is now keeping families in detention 'during the pendency of their immigration cases. That could easily mean months of detention (or longer) for some asylum-seekers — or, alternatively, a form of 'assembly-line justice' that moves families’ cases through too quickly to allow for real due process."