Protesters call for immigration reform in Madison

Published: Jun. 30, 2018 at 6:56 PM CDT
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Marchers gathered across America Saturday protesting children being separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. In Wisconsin, the Families Belong Together protests in Madison, Stevens Point, Oshkosh, Eau Claire, La Crosse and Milwaukee were expected to draw thousands of people.

The protest in Madison took place on the Capitol’s steps from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. More than a thousand people showed up. Groups such as Voces de la Frontera, NextGen Wisconsin, Centro Hispano of Dane County and more spoke at the rally.

The protestors called to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and for the Trump administration to halt its zero tolerance policy.

On June 20, the president signed as executive order reversing his administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border and instead, allowing families to be detained together.

The president said he does not like separating families either.

"It's about keeping families together while ensuring we have a powerful border," Trump said.

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin called out President Trump at the Madison rally and said ICE is now “the president’s own police force,” and his executive order does not fix anything.

“While future children won’t be separated from their parents, we are still not correcting the 2000 children that are still separated from their parents,” Pocan said.

One woman attending the protest, Crystal Fey, said she does not think the president is proposing the right solutions.

“I think the plan is to imprison families together, and I don’t think it’s a long-term solution,” she said.

On Wednesday of this past week, a proposed immigration bill crafted as a compromise between the party’s conservatives and moderates, was rejected. The bill would have given some young immigrants a chance of citizenship, finance President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall and bar the Homeland Security Department from taking children from immigrant families caught entering the U.S. illegally.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says the measure was “a great consensus bill” but Democrats called it “punitive.”