BROWNSVILLE, Texas — More than one thousand activists, concerned citizens, and organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Texas, United We Dream, and others today came together to protest President Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, demanding the immediate reunification of families separated and condemning the purported plan to jail families.
The rally took place across the street from the federal court and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brownsville, Texas, one of the hardest hit areas under Trump’s zero tolerance policy. Following addresses from the speakers, attendees lined up to enter the Brownsville Federal Courthouse to bear witness to the mass prosecution of immigrants.
Late Tuesday evening, the ACLU won a nationwide preliminary injunction in federal court that halted the practice of family separation and ordered reunification. But the plight of immigrant families is far from resolved, as children and parents now face indefinite detention at the border. The organizations and allies are continuing to pressure the Trump administration to immediately reunite families and abandon its plan to expand immigration detention.
“The administration lost bigly against the ACLU and now has to reunite families. Their next cruel plot is to warehouse children and parents in military bases and jails,” said Lorella Praeli, ACLU director of immigration policy and campaigns. “The ACLU, allies, and the public will keep fighting so that immigrants are treated with dignity and respect, and their constitutional rights respected.”
The hundreds of attendees heard from celebrities like Jay Ellis of HBO’s “Insecure,” who said, “This isn’t what humans do. We don’t tear families apart. That is not humanity. Every time we see a family ripped apart, we are ripped apart. And so we will continue to fight this together. We will challenge our lawmakers to do better and be better. We can vote like our rights and our immigrant brothers’ and sisters’ rights depend on it — because they do. Our government may have turned these families away, but that they are accepted and loved in the America that has been created by so many immigrants. And we will continue to fight for that America every single day.”
“There are parents, who, because of detention and deportation, are unable to share their stories with you today. They remain locked up instead of being with their children. Today, we honor them and all of the families that have been separated,” said Christina Patiño Houle, RGV Equal Voice Network.
Those traveling to the rally from the McAllen Airport will see the ACLU billboards below in four locations. They are posted close to border patrol stations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection offices, and court houses in the McAllen area as well as by the Pharr International Bridge marking the border between the U.S and Mexico.
“The administration doesn't have a plan to reunite families. But we have a plan. We are going to keep fighting. Refugees are welcome here, immigrants are welcome here. We won't stop until every single child is reunited,” said Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas.
The ACLU also launched a seven-figure national ad buy demanding Trump immediately reunite families separated by his administration’s policies, saying that the clock is ticking. The ad “Children Are Waiting” will begin airing today on MSNBC, CNN, and HGTV. A Spanish-language version will also air on Telemundo and Univision.
On Saturday, June 30, the ACLU will join MoveOn, the National Domestic Workers
Alliance, and other partners to cosponsor a nationwide call to action to keep pressure on the Trump administration to comply with the court’s order and stop separating families.
In addition to our legal actions and our work on the border, ACLU members kept on the pressure in Congress against anti-immigrant bills, making almost 45,000 calls to reject a cruel and unnecessary immigration policy that trades on family separation, which was ultimately defeated in the House yesterday.
The ACLU case of an asylum-seeking mother from the Congo forcibly separated from her daughter for months, filed in February, helped bring into the national spotlight the issue of family separation.
The livestream of the Brownsville event will be at:
Photos from Brownsville will be available after the event here:
More information on the ACLU’s comprehensive work on family separation is online here: