Rallies Held In Tampa And Across The U.S., Protesting Trump's Immigration Policies
More than 500 people gathered at the Joe Chillura Square near the Hillsborough County Courthouse on Saturday, protesting the seperation of families at the U.S.-Mexico Border.
A handful of children sat on the steps, wrapped in the kind of thermal blankets seen in photos from child detention centers. Others held signs calling for an end to immigrant detention, and abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE).
Hundreds of similar "Families Belong Together" rallies and marches were held across the country.
Tampa resident Ana Lamb said she helped organize the rally after seeing the effects of President Donald Trump's immigration rhetoric and policies on the undocumented farm worker community she works with.
"We have families that are afraid to go out," she said. "Especially when you hear a lot about immigration or ICE is going around the cities, they don't send the kids to school, they hide."
Protestors at the rally called for reuniting families that have already been seperated and a solution for DACA recipients who have been in limbo since the program ended on March 5.
Miriam Martinez, a DACA recipient from Florida Here To Stay, plead for more action and less tweeting.
"At the age of 20, I work three jobs to put myself through school," Martinez said. "We are not criminals. Something needs to be done and something needs to change."
Protestor Girsea Martinez Rosas shared her personal story of being on wrong side of immigration policy. She said her father was deported in 2008 after being pulled over for a broken taillight.
"He believed in this country so much, he believed in the promise of dignity, but he was swiftly deported because of a taillight," she said.
Martinez Rosas also criticized Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, who recently signed an agreement with federal officials that allows the county to hand over undocumented immigrants arrested by his department so that ICE can deport them.
"I would like them to take us into consideration and do their job, which is to make us feel safe, protect our communities, and collaborating with ICE is not part of their job," Martinez Rosas said.
Tampa police ended the rally after about an hour due to dangerous weather.