Thousands of protesters have staged rallies across the United States to protest the immigration policies of President Donald Trump’s administration and its plan for mass arrests of undocumented migrants around the country.
The nationwide rallies, dubbed “Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps,” took place in 700 US cities on Friday to protest the inhumane conditions of migrant detention centers and the Trump administration’s crackdown on asylum seekers and refugees.
In the US capital, hundreds of protesters marched near the White House. People chanted “Close those camps” and held banners reading: “Uncage kids” and “Immoral,” as they took part in the protest and vigil.
The Trump administration “has committed many crimes against humanity,” said Norma Torres, a Congresswoman from California’s 35th district, who attended the rally.
“Because when you strip away the humanity from a two-year-old, from a two-year-old that hasn’t even been potty trained yet, you’re a criminal,” she said.
The treatment of migrants in the detention centers, particularly child migrants, has come under fire in recent months, with reports emerging of filthy conditions and cruelty from staff.
Activists also staged a vigil in New York City, holding up placards and candles as they called for the closure of the detention camps.
American Muslim activist Linda Sarsour called the practice of imprisoning those seeking asylum as “modern day slavery” and segregation.
“It’s not enough, it’s not enough to end family separation. It’s not enough to reunite the children with their parents. It’s not enough even to say to close the camps. We have to abolish the oppressive systems that even thought they can put children camps on our watch,” Sarsour told a cheering crowd.
More than 20 vigils were also held in several cities in the state of California, where thousands of came out.
On Friday, Trump confirmed that American immigration authorities will launch raids to round up thousands of undocumented immigrants and their family members in 10 American cities for deportation.
Trump said on that the nationwide crackdown on immigrants facing deportation will commence over the weekend, adding that he intended to discourage a surge of Central American migrants.
The raids fulfill a hardline immigration stance from Trump which will be a key issue in his 2020 re-election campaign.
Trump has made his hard-line stance on immigration an integral part of his presidency and has promised to build a wall along the US-Mexican border to curb the flow of migrants from Mexico and Central America.
Joe Biden faces protestors at campaign event over Obama-era deportations
Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden faced a protest Friday in Dover, New Hampshire, during an election campaign event by a small group of demonstrators angry over the deportation of undocumented immigrants during the administration of former President Barack Obama.
The protesters held paper signs that read: “We haven’t forgotten 3 million deportations.” The signs were referring to Biden’s role in the administration of former President Barack Obama, which deported nearly 3 million people.
Biden, who has been leading the polls, was showing signs of struggling with black voters after Harris challenged his opposition to school busing in the 1970s on the second night of the first Democratic debate in June.