CHICAGO — A march to protest the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border is planned for Lincoln Square this Saturday.
The march, which will begin at Giddings Plaza and continue down Lincoln Avenue to Belmont and Ashland avenues, is being organized by Andersonville resident Carrie Hardin. The news coverage of the latest immigration policy — like the audio of children crying after being separated published by ProPublica — hit close to home as she’s a mother of two young children, she said.
“I had just had one night where I didn’t sleep at all. I was up all night, just worried. I mean there’s nothing I can do at 3 a.m.,” she said. “And so I thought, I’m not going to sit around and wait for somebody to do this [march], I’m just going to do it.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolled out the “zero-tolerance” policy of prosecuting everyone caught crossing the border illegally — even those seeking asylum — in April. Existing rules bar parents from having their children with them in jail, so with the increased prosecution of those crossing the border without permission at least 2,700 children have been split from their parents between Oct. 1, 2017, to May 31 of this year. Of that number 1,995 were separated between April 18 and May 31 —right after the “zero-tolerance” policy was announced.
“When you are prosecuting the parents for coming in illegally —which should happen — you have to take the children away,” said President Donald Trump while speaking to a the National Federation of Independent Businesses on Tuesday.
When Hardin started planning her Lincoln Square event she hadn’t yet seen too many other protests regarding President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy in Chicago. Since then however, a march in Rogers Park has also been scheduled for this Saturday that starts at the Morse stop of the CTA Red Line and ends at Touhy Park.
“Rogers Park welcomes immigrants and refugees from all over the world. We know fleeing violence or seeking a new livelihood in the United States are not crimes. No human being is illegal!” reads the event’s description on Facebook.
Additionally, on June 30, thousands are expected to rally against the separation of migrant families at a protest in the Loop. Hardin hopes there are more neighborhood marches that happen because, while she understands it can be a more powerful show of support when everyone makes it Downtown, getting to the Loop may not feasible for everyone, and public outcry about these immigration policies is important.
“I think there needs to be public pressure put on the Trump administration because this is a bargaining chip,” Hardin said. “This really is. Like, these children are being kept hostage so that racist immigration laws can be passed in a hurry without anyone arguing about them.”
Hardin is asking people who plan on participating in the march to show solidarity with the parents and children being separated at the border by wearing wear yellow wristbands.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Hardin was still looking for volunteers to help out as marshals at busy intersections and to hand out snacks and noisemakers to some of the younger people in attendance. Those interested in volunteering should message the event page on Facebook.