Demonstrators marched from Library Mall to Capitol Square Saturday afternoon to protest the detention of undocumented immigrant families in the United States.
The march comes in the wake of President Donald Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which criminally charged immigrants caught entering the U.S. illegally. The policy has received national attention because of its practice of separating children from their parents.
The demonstration was called for by the Madison chapter of the International Socialist Organization, and was sponsored by other local activist groups.
Although Trump signed an executive order Wednesday he claimed would end the practice of separating undocumented families, critics have said the order still leaves many families separated and the organizers opted to go ahead with the march.
Anti-abortion groups hold protest to encourage lawmaker to ‘defy federal law’Two anti-abortion groups protested at the capitol Wednesday afternoon to urge Wisconsin legislators to either abolish abortion or defy federal Read…
ISO organizer and member Michael Billeaux said the media coverage of the Trump administration’s policy has increased public awareness over the need for immigration reform.
“People who weren’t paying attention two weeks ago are paying attention now and there’s no better time than now to take this up,” Billeaux said.
Speakers at the rally encouraged unity, despite coming from a variety of different backgrounds. Nur Adam, a student from Saint Cloud, Minnesota, said the rally wasn’t just about protecting immigrant rights, but human rights.
Adam was born in Turkey, but she said she now lives in the U.S. on a visa because the Turkish government took steps to limit her freedom of speech
“As people we tend to not speak up against the things that don’t directly affect us,” Adam said. “But if we don’t speak up now, we might not have a voice tomorrow.”
UW alumnus Sheesenphooyw Moua attended the event with Hmong United For Justice. Moua said he hopes to spread awareness to the Hmong community, who he says are at risk of increased persecution because of their race and immigrant history.
Speaker says crime, immigration sees convergence during Trump administrationSarah Stillman, a staff writer from The New Yorker, spoke Tuesday about covering the intersection between crime and immigration during Read…
Many who marched were not connected to sponsored groups, but attended the event because of close ties to immigrants in their own lives. UW junior Emiliana Almanza Lopez said that growing up with immigrant grandparents makes immigration a very personal issue for her.
“I grew up with very close family friends that went through their family being separated by [Immigration and Customs Enforcement], so [the protest hits] close to home,” Lopez said.
Protesters advocated for a multitude of issues, such as reunifying families already separated and interned by the policy, recalling the Wisconsin National Guard troops sent to Arizona to bolster border security and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Dane County announced as one of 11 ‘SAFE’ jurisdictions for undocumented immigrantsDane County recently announced they will now take part in the Safety and Fairness for Everyone Cities Network, a group Read…
Additionally, protesters marched in support of Franco Ferreyra, an undocumented immigrant who had been living in the U.S. since 2001. Ferreyra’s lawyer told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the Waukesha County resident had been unexpectedly detained by ICE without being given a chance to say goodbye to his four children. Ferreyra’s ex-wife, Alysha Ferreyra, who attended the rally with her children, delivered an impassioned plea for help.
“My children and I are just devastated and heartbroken and live every day with pain and suffering,” Ferreyra said. “My kids can’t see their father or talk to him.”
Event organizers walked around with donation tins. Organizers said that half of the donations will be given to Ferreyra’s family, while the other half would be donated to the James Reeb Unitarian Universalist Congregation, which plans to use the money to fund their efforts to create a guest bedroom for immigrants facing deportation.
Correction: A previous version of this article referred to International Socialist Organization as International Socialists of America. The Badger Herald regrets this error.