Singing “We will walk with you,” and holding signs that read “Mass. stands with immigrants” hundreds of protestors gathered at the Massachusetts State house on Wednesday to protest the family separation policy and to call on state officials to do more to protect immigrants currently in Massachusetts.
The protest occurred only hours before President Donald Trump signed an executive order that would end the practice of separating families caught illegally crossing the border by instead detaining families together indefinitely.
The action was organized by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Coalition and others, spurred by the recent news stories of migrant children being held in cages, babies taken out of their immigrant mothers’ arms and asylum seekers being targeted by intense immigration enforcement efforts.
— MASafeCommunitiesAct (@SafeCommsAct) June 20, 2018
“If our legislators do nothing, they are complicit,” ACLUM Staff Counsel Laura Rotolo said on the State House steps.
Trump’s executive order will not end the “zero-tolerance” policy that criminally prosecutes all adults caught crossing the border illegally, the Associated Press reported, but aims to keep families together while they are in custody.
Ending family separation wasn’t the only goal of Wednesday’s State House protest. Chanting, “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here,” the protestors sought action to protect immigrants in general.
IMMIGRANTS ARE WELCOME HERE
— Maura Healey (@MassAGO) June 20, 2018
Advocates called on state officials to pass the Safe Communities Act, legislation that would put in place immigration protections like preventing police from asking people about their immigration status and limiting local police from working with federal immigration officers.
The Massachusetts Senate passed the Act in May, but it has not yet been passed by the House. Gov. Charlie Baker has said that he opposes the measure.