The Detroit News: Metro Detroiters protest migrant separations, travel ban
By Sarah Rahal, The Detroit News
Cindy Garcia, whose husband Jorge was deported on Jan. 15, said instead of crying in her bed she wanted to share her pain with hundreds protesting the separation of families in Metro Detroit.
Jorge Garcia, 49, was deported to Mexico because he entered the country illegally when he was 10 years old, his wife said. Cindy Garcia, of Lincoln Park, said the separation has been traumatizing on her two children.
“I’ve been directly affected by this administration. I had to let my husband go and have to take my two children (ages 13 and 15) to see a psychiatrist,” said Garcia, 46, told a crowd of protesters on Saturday. “I can’t even imagine if they were locked up in cages, away from me thinking I abandoned them.”
Garcia was among the protesters who hit the streets in Metro Detroit and Michigan and across the U.S. for the #FamiliesBelongTogetherMarch Saturday to press President Donald Trump’s administration to reunite families quickly.
More than 700 planned marches drew hundreds of thousands of people across the country, from immigrant-friendly cities like New York and Los Angeles to conservative Appalachia and Indiana to the front lawn of a Border Patrol station in McAllen, Texas, near a detention center where migrant children were being held in cages.
In Detroit, crowds gathered in sweltering 95-degree heat on Saturday at the Spirit of Detroit and Clark Park before marching.
Detroit police estimated more than 250 people gathered at the Spirit of Detroit and marched through downtown before returning to rally in Hart Plaza. Police said ambulances are on standby for those overcome by the heat at Clark Park, where more than 1,000 are expected.
U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak, Fayrouz Saad, a Democrat candidate hoping to represent Michigan’s 11th District; and former state Rep. Ellen Lipton of Huntington Woods who is running for the 9th District congressional seat were among the speakers at the Spirit of Detroit rally.
“It’s (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and their practices that are a danger to American society,” Levin said. “The key message… we need to send a clear message to this administration to stop sending kids away from their parents, they’ve done nothing wrong. They came here undocumented, but they work and the families work, contribute and do nothing wrong.”
Trump took to Twitter on Saturday morning to show his support for Immigration and Customs Enforcement amid calls from some Democrats for major changes to immigration enforcement.
Tweeting from New Jersey, Trump said that Democrats “are making a strong push to abolish ICE, one of the smartest, toughest and most spirited law enforcement groups of men and women that I have ever seen.” He urged ICE agents to “not worry or lose your spirit.”
Detroit and 22 other Michigan cities — Adrian, Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Big Rapids, Flint, Fort Gratiot, Grand Rapids, Hart, Holland, Houghton, Iron Mountain, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Ludington, Manistee, Marquette, Midland, Mt Pleasant, Muskegon, Petoskey, Pontiac, Saint Helen, Saint Joseph, Sault Ste Marie, Traverse City and Troy — were the site of rallies.
The rallies not only focused on the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border, but protested against the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling uphoiding Trump’s travel ban from mostly Muslim countries.
“I’m the daughter of immigrants and my parents came 40 years ago for the American dream, the one that Trump is destroying,” said Saad, who called for impeachment of Trump. “This Supreme Court ruling is outrageous and we know now the courts are not going to save us any more. It’s who we vote in that will make the difference.”
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, started at an Ann Arbor rally before heading to Clark Park to fight for the “fundamental pillars and the heart and soul of America,” she said.
Many yelled to Dingell asking if she would stand by their mission to shutdown ICE. She replied, “We got to be careful, ICE isn’t keeping us safe because people see ICE and run the other way, but we can not let Donald Trump define our message.”
Imam Mika’il Stewart Saadiq lead chants with the crowd at Clark Park saying “Fight people fight, faith is on our side” and “Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s right.”
“All of our children will be the next legislators, educators and it’s very important that we are here and our children will remember that we we are a part of a righteous legacy fighting for equality for all,” said Saadiq. “You come for one of us and you come for all of us. U.S. immigration policy has become ethnic cleansing from detention centers to terrorizing those who seek asylum, to the travel ban… we won’t have it.”