Liberal activists, parents and first-time protesters motivated by accounts of children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border plan to rally in hundreds of cities nationwide Saturday to press the Trump administration to reunite the families quickly, The Associated Press reports.
More than 600 marches could draw hundreds of thousands of people across the country, from immigrant-friendly cities like Los Angeles and New York City to conservative Appalachia and Wyoming under the banner Families Belong Together.
“I’m not a radical, and I’m not an activist,” said Kate Sharaf, a Portland co-organizer. “I just reached a point where I felt I had to do more.”
Motivated by a federal judge’s order this week that the government must quickly reunite the children with their parents, immigration and civil rights activists are planning to take over Lafayette Square near the White House as they launch protests on Saturday.
The demonstration in downtown Washington, D.C. will mark the epicenter for the “Families Belong Together” march, which includes more than 700 sister protests planned in all 50 states, according to organizers.
“We see the outrage and we see that this has to be taken right to the White House, right to Donald Trump to stop the family separations,” Democratic Representative Pramila Jayapalsaid last week on MSNBC.
The Saturday protests are funded by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Amnesty International, the Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center, as well as dozens of others.
“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is among those slated to speak at the rally.
Despite Trump insisting that it’s the Democrats fault for the separations and that his administration was merely enforcing the law, Trump signed an executive order allowing minors to be detained alongside their parents.
However, the executive order raised questions about how the administration plans to enforce the measure. A 1997 consent decree prohibits the government from holding minors for more than 20 days.