EUGENE, Ore. -- "Families belong together" is what thousands of people throughout the U.S. were saying as they gathered all over the country to protest the separation of immigrants from their families.
The "Families Belong Together" rallies are in response to an announcement in May from Attorney General Jeff Sessions that all immigrants illegally crossing the border will be prosecuted separately. This meant families could be separated in this process, and children could be left without their parents.
Organizers said they wanted to convey that Americans are not okay with this kind of treatment. They want to make enough noise to encourage policy-makers like Sessions to stop families from becoming separated.
More than one hundred people in the Eugene area gathered in Kesey Square on Thursday, June 14. They listened to speakers, including former Eugene mayor, Kitty Piercy, tell stories of horror and separation. They gathered to let policy-makers know that they wouldn't stand for what they're calling terrorism right here in the U.S.
“As a country, we need to have this stopped. We need to make accommodations for families at the border, plain and simple,” said Catherine Clinton, coordinator of the local rally. “It's torture. It's traumatic to be doing this to families, and we demand an end to it."
Many people who attended said they were parents and grandparents themselves. They said they couldn't imagine the pain of having their babies ripped away from them, and it makes them upset to know that this is something that goes on in the U.S. every day.
“The mothers and fathers are beside themselves with pain, and suffering, and guilt that they weren't able to protect their children,” said Bernadette Borurassa, a Eugene resident who attended the rally.
Protesters say they won't stop until they see results. Whether it be rallies, petitions, or something else, they want to ensure that policy-makers hear their voices.