'Families, united, should never be divided' - Albuquerque Journal

‘Families, united, should never be divided’

Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal

Thousands gathered at Albuquerque’s Civic Plaza on Saturday to protest President Donald Trump’s immigration policies as part of a nationwide movement. (Jim Thompson/Journal)

Thousands of impassioned Burqueños incensed over President Donald Trump’s policy of separating parents from their children at the border banded together Saturday in protest.

Chants of “Families, united, should never be divided,” rang out among the crowd, who carried signs that read “Hope not hate,” “Kids need their parents” and “Reunite families now.”

Many other signs read “I really do care, do u?,” a dig at a jacket first lady Melania Trump wore before and after her trip to visit an immigrant detention facility that had “I don’t really care, do u?” printed down its back.

“This is a situation where everyone, irrespective of abilities, our social status, our economic status and even our age are standing up against the worst thing I have seen this country do in my lifetime,” said gubernatorial candidate and Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., as she addressed the throngs of people gathered in Civic Plaza.

The rally was organized by the ACLU of New Mexico, ProgressNow New Mexico, New Mexico Immigrant Law Center and several other groups as part of the nationwide “Families Belong Together” movement.

“This administration is using children, starting with (the repeal of) DACA and now these children as a means to manipulate people for their political ends,” said Liz Lilliott of Albuquerque, who was at the rally with her 8-year-old son Elias Gonzalez. “My son has questions. He wants to know, ‘Why are children being jailed?’ and I have a hard time answering those questions.”

While Trump signed an executive order last week ending the practice of separating children from their parents at the border, families are still being detained.

Around 2,000 families remain separated and protesters called for their immediate reunification.

“He (Trump) should have directed his entire team in that executive order to immediately put together a viable plan to reunite those families,” Lujan Grisham said in an interview after she addressed the crowd. “He created this crisis to push lawmakers into making a false choice between family separation and family incarceration.”

But Lujan Grisham said the Trump administration isn’t the only one to blame.

“I worry that Trump may not see this as a priority to deal with,” she said. “I feel like Bush and Obama and Clinton would have, but they’re all culpable in terms of really paying attention.”

Linda Wilson, an attorney with the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center, was manning an informational table for the organization near the back of the crowd.

Wilson said she has seen Trump’s hard-line immigration policies bleed into her workplace, starting with the so-called “Muslim travel ban” and moving onto those already in the country.

“Under the previous administration, the deportation was focused on criminals and people who were perceived to not be contributing positively to our communities and there was less focus on people who were just here quietly living their lives.”

She has also witnessed a change in the treatment of those seeking asylum.

While Wilson said those people should be given a “credible fear interview” once they present themselves at the border, then given a work permit and a year to file their asylum case, they’re sometimes just detained instead.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that domestic and gang violence will no longer be accepted as bases for asylum.

“This is a huge change,” Wilson said.

Martha Laura Garcia, also with the New Mexico Immigration Center, said she has recently seen detainees abandon their asylum claims in hopes they will be more quickly reunited with their children.

Though there’s now been a stop to the practice, Garcia said there is still more work to be done.

“Yeah, the government put an end to family separation at the border, but what it did was replace it with indefinite family incarcerations,” Wilson said. “That is not a solution.”

Hundreds of thousands of people showed up at more than 750 similar events around the country Saturday.

Home » News » Albuquerque News » ‘Families, united, should never be divided’


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Mistrial declared in ABQ man’s trial for 1997 murder ...
ABQnews Seeker
Twenty-five years ago, police found Edd ... Twenty-five years ago, police found Edd Thompson, 48, strangled to death in an East Central motel room. On Monday, a District Court judge declared ...
2
District judge candidate acknowledges 2018 tax lien
2022 election
An Albuquerque district judge running in ... An Albuquerque district judge running in a Democratic primary acknowledged she had been subjected to a state tax lien after indicating otherwise on a ...
3
TOP OF MIND: What do you think of the ...
ABQnews Seeker
Click here to tell us: ... Click here to tell us: What do you think of the decision to implement forest-wide closures in Santa Fe and Carson national forests ...
4
Amazon, Universal series 'Primo' to film in ABQ
ABQnews Seeker
Shea Serrano has made a name ... Shea Serrano has made a name for himself as a journalist and as an author. His latest TV series project, 'Primo,' is currently filming ...
5
Executive order aims to lighten teachers’ administrative burden
ABQnews Seeker
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an ... Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order Monday directing the Public Education Department to reduce the administrative burden on teachers and school administrators ...
6
Lujan Grisham: Feds liable for wildfire damage
ABQnews Seeker
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Monday ... Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Monday that the federal government faces significant legal liability for its role in igniting the largest wildfire in state ...
7
Kiwanis Club is looking for the next voice of ...
ABQnews Seeker
Got a voice filled with gloom? ... Got a voice filled with gloom? The Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe want you to be front and center at this year's 98th Annual ...
8
La Montañita to open near IPCC
ABQnews Seeker
La Montañita Food Co-op is on ... La Montañita Food Co-op is on the move. The locally owned grocery co-op is the latest tenant of the Avanyu Plaza, which is part ...
9
Report: Top Southern Baptists stonewalled sex abuse victims
ABQnews Seeker
The Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee ... The Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee -- and thousands of its rank-and-file members -- now have opportunities to address a scathing investigative report that ...