Here’s a bit of welcome news after the horrific day we just had: there’s going to be a march on Washington D.C. against the Trump administration’s horrific family separation policy.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state, who visited a federal detention center in her home state last week and called its conditions “absolutely heartbreaking,” announced the march on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes tonight.
The Families Belong Together coalition, fronted by the National Domestic Workers’ Alliance, is made up of dozens of progressive advocacy and civil rights organizations from around the country, including the ACLU, MoveOn.org, Amnesty International, the Democratic Socialists of America, and the Center for American Progress. Jayapal said that the march will take place on June 30 at 11 A.M. at Lafayette Square in D.C, and both Jayapal and the FBT coalition’s website say there will be contiguous marches happening around the country.
“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,” Jayapal added. “Every single day I have constitutents calling my office, not just from my district but across the country, asking ‘How can we stop this?’ Republicans, Democrats, and independents are outraged.”
Jayapal recounted a story from meeting with women in an immigrant detention center, one of whom told her that she was given a slip of paper with her name and those of her children. “These are not my children,” Jayapal recalled the woman telling her. “In my experience, the 174 women I talked to, not a single one had been able to say goodbye to their children, and only two of the 174 even knew where their children were.”
“The White House has badly miscalculated. They are losing on this issue,” Jayapal said. “Nobody believes that there is any legislative reason, no policy reason, and certainly no moral reason to be separating these kids. This is not a political issue, this is about what’s right and wrong.” I’d argue that the battle between “right and wrong” is fundamentally a political issue, but that’s besides the point.
Hayes asked Jayapal what the “endgame” for the march is. “The endgame is to say, ‘This is about Trump,’” Jayapal said. “He would love to make this about Democrats, he would love to make this about legislation that has to be passed, he would love to make this about both sides. It is not. It is about Donald Trump reversing this policy.”
“Thee endgame is, ‘Donald Trump, reverse this policy, stop the zero-tolerance, reunite these kids with their parents, and let’s get asylum hearings for all of these folks,” she said.
Not all of the problems of America’s inhumane immigration policies, obviously, lie directly at the feet of Trump; he inherited a system from his two most immediate predecessors which was tailor-made for brutality. But on this issue of forcibly separating children from their parents, the fault lies solely on Trump and the White House. It is a conscious decision that Trump is making to continue to let this happen, no matter who (or what) he and the dead-eyed members of his administration would like you to believe is to blame for this instead.
Trump could stop this with the stroke of a pen. Every day that he fails to do so is another full of unnecessary trauma hoisted onto thousands of migrant children. Trump hasn’t proven himself to be someone who’s swayed by appeals to morality, but hopefully, direct action and strength in numbers force his hand.