Around 1200 people rallied Saturday in downtown Dayton against the Trump administration's controversial separation and detention of immigrant families at the United States-Mexico border.
The protest, organized by a coalition of activisit groups including Dayton Indivisable For All (DIFA) and Organizing for Action (OFA), was one of more than 700 “Families Belong Together” immigration rallies held nationwide on Saturday, and the second immigration protest to be held in Dayton in June.
Officials say more than 2,000 children remain separated from their parents under the administration's "zero tolerance" policy that officially began in May. At least 2,300 children were originally separated.
Administration officials say they are working to end the remaining separations.
On June 20, President Donald Trump issued an executive order the administration said would end family separation, stating families will instead be detained together.
A federal judge last week ordered the administration to reunite all the families apprehended at the border within the next few weeks.
Chloe Massie-Costales attended Saturday's protest. Her family includes people of mixed immigration status, she says, and the issue of migrant-family separations is personal for her.
"These legislations could actually, you know, separate my family, but I can’t just sit back and be scared. I have to care, and I have to show up and I have to go vote," she says, referring to the upcoming fall midterm elections.
Children are prohibited under current law from being detained for longer than 20 days, a limit the administration is seeking to expand, as NPR News reports.
“Children are still being held,” Joy Schwab, an immigration protest co-sponsor from the Dayton Women’s Rights Alliance, told WYSO. “Until they are reunited we want to keep the pressure on.” Schwab says that’s one of the reasons why organizers decided to hold a second event.
Dayton City Commissioner Darryl Fairchild was also at the protest, expressing outrage over the current situation at the Southwest U.S. border. "We believe that separating children from their families does harm. Not only do we believe that, but organizations across the country know that that's true," he says.
The June 14 protest organized by left-leaning activist group Dayton Indivisible For All, in front of Republican Congressman Mike Turner’s office, drew nearly 100 people.
Featured speakers included:
Jessica Ramos - an attorney with Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc.
Sherry Gale - Pastor at Grace Methodist Church
Riley Weisman - with a Dayton Peace Museum group
Dawn Cooksey - Social Worker
Katie Kersh - attorney with Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc.
Gabriela Pickett – Missing Peace Art/Local Immigrant Advocate
Alicia Pagan – LULAC