Now even kids are marching against Trump

WASHINGTON—Now even kids are marching against Donald Trump.

Or at least they’re doing so in the streets of the Nation’s Capital.

Hundreds of children, from toddlers in strollers to teenagers in jeans, marched on the White House early on a hot and humid July 26 to protest the Trump administration’s split of 2,500 migrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, and Trump’s failure to reunite the families, despite a federal judge’s order to do so.

Accompanied by some adults, who wielded held toddlers’ handles, wielded bullhorns and led chants, the youngsters declared “I am a child!” responding to the adults’ prompt: “Families belong together.”

Other children’s chants included “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here!” “We are all God’s children!” and “Schools, not cages!” referring to the cages Trump officials use to hold detained children – all sobbing for their parents – just north of the border.

Despite the march and U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw’s court order, the Trump administration flunked the requirement of reunifying, by July 26, all the estimated 2,500 children split from their parents under its “zero-tolerance” policy.

Previously, the administration flunked Sabraw’s order to reunify all the kids under age 5 with their parents. The American Civil Liberties Union, which successfully sued to force the reunifications, reported only 57 of those 103 kids were reunited by Sabraw’s July 10 deadline.

In many of the other cases, the feds admitted, the parents already were deported.

In Sabraw’s court on July 26, administration officials reported several hundred parents have been released in the U.S., and can’t be found. Almost 900 more parents, Trump officials told Sabraw, “may be ineligible for reunification” with their children. But Trump officials didn’t say why. Some parents signed deportation papers – without their kids – and were shipped back to Latin America.

All the parents, with their children, sought to migrate to the U.S. Many, if not most, claimed political asylum, fleeing wars, gangs and related violence in Central America. That chaos not only endangers them, but their kids as well, parents said. That’s because the gangs often conscript children there. If the kids resist, they and their families are open to revenge.

Denying asylum to people who legitimately believe themselves mortally in danger violates international law and treaties the U.S. has signed. That didn’t stop Trump, or his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, from denying the asylum and forcibly yanking crying children away from their parents. Trump and Sessions claimed doing so would deter other migrants.

After first gathering at the White House, the kids and adults descended on Capitol Hill to demand lawmakers reverse Trump’s edict and force family reunification.

There, Ai-Jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, told the crowd that “a federal court gave the Trump administration this deadline to reunite all the families that have been separated at the border.”  NDWA, an AFL-CIO affiliate, is one organization in the Families Belong Together campaign for reunifying the parents and kids and letting them stay in the U.S. Ai-Jen Poo led the rallies.

“There are thousands of children who have spent months apart from their parents, children as young as 18 months old,” she said.

“They’ve been kept in cages and shipped around the country like prisoners, traumatized, and despite the outrage that has been expressed. And despite the court mandate only a few of those families have been reunited and more than 400 parents have been deported and permanently separated from their children.”

After thanking everyone from lawyers to parents to social workers to child welfare advocates who stepped forward to help reunite the families and care for the kids, Ai-Jen Poo warned their work isn’t done.

“We cannot forget the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance, zero-humanity policy is still in place. The policy that created this crisis still continues. And that is why we are here today,” she declared.


Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Award-winning journalist Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of the union news service Press Associates Inc. (PAI). Known for his reporting skills, sharp wit, and voluminous knowledge of history, Mark is a compassionate interviewer but tough when going after big corporations and their billionaire owners.