Nationwide Protests Demand End to Family Separations

Over 100 protesters in Baltimore demonstrated against the detention of Marta Rodriguez, who faces deportation to Honduras. Councilman Zeke Cohen says the U.S. must take in migrants displaced as a result of its policies

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Story Transcript

JAISAL NOOR: Protests against the Trump administration’s immigration policies which separate parents from their children are ramping up across the nation. In Baltimore, over 100 people gathered to protest the detention and possible deportation of longtime Maryland resident Marta Rodriguez.

YESSENIA RODRIGUEZ: And they told her that they want to deport her, and that after so many years, and after-. She even has a work permit, and she’s been working legally. They’ve told her that she has to leave from this country, that this is not her country. And it has been devastating news to all of us, because no one deserves to be separated from anyone, especially their loved ones. And the immigration status of a person doesn’t determine who they are.

STACEY MANJONG: But Trump is really building on what Obama built during his administration, what Bush built during his administration, going back to Clinton, looking back at U.S. foreign policy over the past couple of decades. I think we need to speak not only to people who may support Trump, but also just in general we all need to take a look and see how our communities are complicit, and make sure that we’re not allowing anybody to advocate for this, and making sure that everybody is being held accountable for their role.

YESSENIA RODRIGUEZ: You know, many, many people have the concept that people just come here just to, you know, take advantage of whatever is here. And you know, the U.S. is known for the land of opportunities. But my mom had to flee her country, one, because she had a very, she had a very bad relationship with her first born in Honduras, and she suffered from domestic violence. And then because she couldn’t provide for all of us. My brother, he’s still in Honduras. And you know, in those countries everything is, you know, no one pays attention to what’s really going on. They just focus on any bad thing that anyone does here, any immigrant, and they just generalize.

JAISAL NOOR: A federal judge will decide Monday whether to extend a July 10 deadline to reunite children under five years old with their parents. The government has until July 15 to extend this policy to all children under 18. The ACLU says the Trump administration appears likely to fail to reunite even half of all children by deadline.

LEE GELERNT: There are literally thousands of lawyers and other volunteers ready to help. To go see the parents, talk to the parents about where their children might be. There are companies ready to provide transportation. There may be hotel groups ready to provide lodging. There are so many people ready to help.

JAISAL NOOR: Also in Baltimore, First District Councilman Zeke Cohen is introducing a resolution demanding children be reunited with their parents immediately.

ZEKE COHEN: We can’t wipe our hands of our history in this country. We have to be honest about our role in destabilizing some of our Central American countries, and we need to play a role now in supporting refugees and immigrants from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, all of these places where violence is a regular occurrence. The United States needs to step up and accept refugees and asylees. What is different in this administration is the zero tolerance policy, the taking away children from their families. And I want to be clear that I think this is a bipartisan failure.

JAISAL NOOR: He says he was prompted by the death of a constituent, when she was separated from her children and deported back to Honduras.

ZEKE COHEN: Recently I had a constituent also from Honduras, also with family here in Baltimore, who was arrested, detained, and then deported. Three months after his deportation, he was murdered outside his home. People are coming to this country to escape violence and persecution within their own countries. And so the city of Baltimore wants to send a clear message to the Trump administration that we value families, and we do not want ICE involved in detaining, arresting, and deporting family members from out of our city.

JAISAL NOOR: Institutions who have contracts with ICE and profiting off detention are also drawing protests. In Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University is coming under fire for an ongoing contract for training ICE officers. A petition already has 400 signatures demanding Hopkins end the contract. At the time of publication, Hopkins did not respond to requests for comment for this story, but when contacted by Money magazine in June, a Hopkins spokesperson said they were looking into it.

The Real News will keep following this story. From Baltimore, this is Jaisal Noor.