On Saturday, June 30, several elected officials and public figures joined the attendees of the March to Keep Families Together. The demonstration was one of hundreds that occurred across the country, including the main march in Washington, D.C.
Congresswoman Grace Meng detailed her trip to the United States-Mexico border, highlighting the fact that despite what some have said are “passable” conditions of the detention centers, the children were being kept in cages away from their families.
“I don’t care what you call them — they were in cages,” Meng said.
At one point, the congresswoman brought out an example of the silver blankets that the children are given at the detention centers and said that the room was quiet except for the sound of the rustling blankets.
Jessica Ramos, a state Senate candidate and mother of two boys, empathized with the parents whose children have been taken from them. She added that the fight could not stop until the families were “reunited and safe from this tyrannical president.”
“History will judge us for how we acted when the president of the United States began tearing families apart — now is the time to stand up and speak out. Thousands of neighbors are marching together today to make clear: enough is enough,” Ramos said.
Ramos also spoke on the importance of making New York a sanctuary state, while also outlining her commitment to legislation for immigrants, including the DREAM Act, the Liberty Act and driver’s licenses for undocumented residents.
“When you see a crowd here today, you feel that ICE is melting,” said Comptroller Scott Stringer at Saturday’s march, in reference to the fight to abolish ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement.)
The debate on whether or not to abolish ICE has been a hot-button topic. Many who attended the march have spoken out against the agency that President Donald Trump has used to enact family separations, including Democratic Congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“So long as there is an effort, so long as there is a fight, there is hope,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “So long as we as individuals choose to take action, we as individuals choose to show up, to protect our neighbors, to stand up for our values, and stand up for our rights, then we will always have a United States that we are proud of. It may be a dark time in this administration, but I am confident and hopeful that it will not last long — it will not last forever, because of every single individual who is here on this block today.”
Other notable marchers included Councilmen Costa Constantinides and Jimmy Van Bramer, Assemblywoman Ari Espinal and Assembly candidate Catalina Cruz.
The marchers started in front of the Jackson Heights Post Office and traveled to the Park of the Americas in Corona, all the while holding signs decrying the president’s actions and supporting families reuniting. In addition, there were marches held nationwide to show solidarity in cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami and St. Louis.