Thousands march in USA against immigration policy


Saturday's "Rally against Family Separation" began with 11 a.m. with speeches at City Hall.

It is likely to be one of the biggest protests over immigration, an issue that has proved deeply divisive under the presidency of Donald Trump.

"If you are pro-family, you can not separate families", Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said to the crowd at Los Angeles City Hall. Protesters gather near a U.S. Customs and Border Protection station to speak out against immigration policy.

"I don't like to live with this fear", she said. "I hope today raises awareness and hopefully changes the minds of those in power". End the "zero-humanity" policy that created this crisis.

Widespread backlash over children being taken from their parents led President Donald Trump to reverse course last week, but immigrant advocates continue to call the government's hard-line policies toward migrants and asylum seekers harmful and "racist".

In a separate case a United States district judge in San Diego on Tuesday ordered that divided families be reunited within 30 days - and two weeks in cases involving children under five.

Further, Trump's executive order does not address reuniting families that have already been separated.

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Mr Trump has halted his policy of taking children from their detained parents under public pressure but around 2,000 of them are still being held, with many families saying they've not known how to locate them.

The Justice Department submission to the U.S. judge in charge of the Flores Agreement calls attention to what it sees as a conflict between the two cases, saying the longstanding agreement "put the government in the hard position of having to separate families if it decides it should detain parents for immigration purposes". Photo by Reuters / Joshua Roberts.

The second demonstration starts Saturday afternoon with a march from Wellington Common Park to the South Bay House of Correction, a county jail in Boston which houses undocumented immigrants apprehended by federal officials. In Atlanta, civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D) of Georgia echoed the spirit of the civil rights movement: "As a nation and a people we can do better", Lewis said. "Don't give up. Don't give in. Keep marching." And, near El Paso, Texas, thousands congregated near the border. There were also marches in more conservative regions like Wyoming and Kansas, and in cities large and small.

In New York, a cacophony of honking cars, beating drums, and impassioned chants filled the air.

"We are children", Lea said, directing her words at fellow migrant kids in a similar plight as hers. "Stand up, fight back!"

Bocanegra was one of several speakers who addressed a crowd of about a thousand gathered in Grant Park on Saturday to demand that families held by the US government be reunited and to protest the policies that led to their initial separation.