Thousands of protesters marched in the streets of cities across America to protest the nation’s immigration policies and call for the reunification of parents and children who were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to published reports.
More than one week ago, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to end the practice, but many families still remain separated as the government sorts through their cases.
How many total protests were there?
In all, an estimated 600 protests were scheduled in cities spanning from New York City to Los Angeles. The marchers included open-border advocates as well as conservatives who say families should not be separated.
The total number of protesters could rise to hundreds of thousands, according to some reports. Social media was flooded with photos of those participating and watching the demonstrations.
“Thousands” also turned out in New York City, Boston, Washington, El Paso, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, according to an Associated Press running tally of the protests.
In New York City, protesters shouted “Shut detention down,” a reference to demonstrations held at ICE offices across the country.
Barry Hooper of San Francisco told the Associated Press he attended the protest with his wife and two daughters to “let the president know that this is not acceptable.”
Liliana, his 7-year-old daughter, held a sign she made that read, “Stop the separation.”
Protesters in San Francisco carried flags and signs with with slogans that read, “Deport Trump,” and “I Really Care, Do You?” – a jab at the words written across a jacket the first lady during a visit to an immigrant detention center. Amid a global furor over the immigrant crisis, Melania Trump wore a jacket with the words, “I really don’t care, do u?” written across the back in large white letters.
Trump later said the message on his wife's jacket was directed at the “Fake News Media.”
Celebrities and politicians who oppose Trump were among those participating in a demonstration in Los Angeles, according to the Associated Press.
California Democrats who turned out for the event included Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) Migrant children taken from their parents will suffer lifelong trauma, Harris said.
A rally near the city hall in Portland, Maine was so large that police shut down streets as a reported 2,000 people “chanted, cheered and prayed,” the wire service reported.
In downtown Denver, an estimated 4,000 people attended a boisterous rally. Some of the protesters wore foil blankets, a symbol of similar blankets they gave to children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Others carried signs that included the messages: “Keep the kids, deport the racists” and “Break walls, build families.”
Elsewhere, smaller groups banded together in city parks and downtown squares in virtually every state. Some carried tiny white onesies with the words, "What if it was your child?" and "No family jails," according to reports.
The rallies were funded by the American Civil Liberties Union, MoveOn.org, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and The Leadership Conference, Fox News reported.
Local organizers did most of the planning and coordination efforts. Many of them used informal networks that formed during the worldwide women's marches that happened on Trump's inauguration and its anniversary, the report stated.
What did Trump say?
As the protests were underway, Trump doubled-down on the immigration issue through a series of tweets, including:
When people come into our Country illegally, we must IMMEDIATELY escort them back out without going through years o… https://t.co/l0cBzDIMn0— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1530387849.0
To the great and brave men and women of ICE, do not worry or lose your spirit. You are doing a fantastic job of kee… https://t.co/H4iJtg4xB2— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1530357761.0
The Democrats are making a strong push to abolish ICE, one of the smartest, toughest and most spirited law enforcem… https://t.co/WbFYrPzRLk— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1530356850.0