At first glance, Munich, Germany; Waco, Texas; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Vinalhaven, Maine; and Philadelphia may not appear to have much in common. But on Saturday, those cities, along with more than 600 others across the United States and world, will be hosting Families Belong Together protests to rally against the Trump administration's immigration policies..
The protest in Philadelphia will take place at Logan Circle from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. The event was originally to be held near City Hall but was moved due to its expected size. Thousands of people have expressed interest on Facebook.
The initial purpose of the protest was to compel President Trump to end the separation of immigrant families at the U.S. border. After Trump signed an executive order on June 20 abolishing the practice, the protest evolved to instead demand that the U.S. government reunite separated families and work toward immigration reform.
The current political climate has sent "shock waves of panic" throughout the local immigrant community, said Elizabeth Yaeger, supervising attorney for the immigrant youth advocacy project at the Pennsylvania Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. The group is one of the organizations helping to put together the Philadelphia demonstration.
Yaeger said Trump's executive order did not address the reunification of separated families. Some families may be reunified through deportation or put together in ICE detention centers.
"We are [protesting] to keep the pressure on and to say no to separations and to say no to detention," Yaeger said. "… Just as children shouldn't be locked in cages, families shouldn't be locked in cages."
The progressive organization MoveOn is the main organizer of the nationwide protests. Families Belong Together has a number of other partners, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the National Education Association, and Youth Caucus of America.
The Philadelphia march is organized and sponsored by the following organizations:
PA Immigration and Citizenship Coalition
Shut Down Berks Coalition
MILPA – Movimiento de Inmigrantes Lideres en PA
Sanctuary Advocate Coalition
Asian Americans United
Philadelphia Student Union
New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia
Several posts on the Philadelphia protest's Facebook page said the event would not include a march due to the forecast calling for a high of 96 degrees.
For those in the suburbs who wish to demonstrate, other protests in the greater Philadelphia region will be taking place in Cape May, Lambertville, and Princeton in New Jersey, as well as in Doylestown, Norristown, Swarthmore, and West Chester in Pennsylvania. A detailed list of protest locations can be found on MoveOn's website.