Some Idahoans will be rallying in Washington, D.C., and at the Idaho Statehouse this weekend, protesting the separation of migrant and asylum-seeking families at the Mexican border.
Like the rally more than a month ago, activists and local leaders plan to protest federal immigration policies that have separated children from parents and guardians at the border. Speakers will include Maria Andrade, a Boise immigration lawyer and legal counsel for PODER (Protecting Our Dreams and Empowering Resilience) of Idaho.
Organizers of the Boise rally said despite rapidly changing immigration policy, they will continue to focus on the trauma that detention and family separation causes the children involved.
“It looks like things are changing really quickly, so we really want to get the correct info out there and make sure that the issue stays at the forefront,” said Estefania Mondragon, an organizer with PODER and bilingual social change associate at Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence.
In April, the Trump Administration announced a “zero tolerance” policy that involved prosecuting every person caught illegally crossing the Mexico-U.S. border. A month later, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, “We don’t want to separate families, but we don’t want families to come to the border illegally and attempt to enter into this country improperly,” according to the Associated Press.
On June 20, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that would stop the separation of detained families at the U.S.-Mexico border. On June 26, a federal judge in California ordered U.S. immigration officials to reunite families separated at the border within 30 days, according to the Associated Press. More than 2,000 children were separated from the adults they were traveling with and sent to shelters and foster homes across the country in recent months.
The event will be hosted by PODER of Idaho, ACLU of Idaho, Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, the International Rescue Committee, Idaho Moms for a Brighter Future and other organizations.
Other Idahoans are headed to the nation’s capital to join protesters from around the country. United Vision for Idaho, an advocacy organization based in Boise, is joining thousands of expected protesters on Saturday with the Families Belong Together Coalition. Faith leaders including Rev. Sara LaWall, minister of the Boise Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, will also attend.
Adrienne Evans, executive director of United Vision for Idaho, said eight members of their 12-person delegation were arrested along with hundreds of other protestors on Capitol Hill Thursday.
“It’s critically important that Idahoans are represented in the resistance happening across the country,” Evans said.