More than 2,000 women gathered at the Women’s March on Thursday in Washington D.C. to protest the Trump administration’s family-separation of immigrant families at the border and zero-tolerance policy. Close to 600 women were arrested for “mass civil disobedience.” Among those women arrested, was Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington, the first member of Congress to endorse abolishing ICE.
Earlier this week, Rep. Mark Pocan announced his plan to craft a bill to abolish ICE. “I’m introducing legislation that would abolish ICE and crack down on the agency’s blanket directive to target and round up individuals and families,” he wrote in a statement. “The heartless actions of this abused agency do not represent the values of our nation and the U.S. must develop a more humane immigration system, one that treats every person with dignity and respect.”
The movement’s supporters include Oregon Rep. Eric Blumenauer, Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal, and Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern. Jayapal was not only arrested on Thursday but has helped in planning the even larger protest that will be happening this Saturday.
— Women's March (@womensmarch) June 28, 2018
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), with infant, just rolled into the middle of the immigration-policy protest at Hart and got a rock-star reception.
“What would it be like to have my breast-feeding child ripped away from me? This is deeply personal as a mother.” pic.twitter.com/5aiSvZtoUE
— Dan Zak (@MrDanZak) June 28, 2018
The mission behind the March and the reason why so many of these women risked arrest, was in efforts to let the Trump administration know that the people are demanding they reverse the zero-tolerance policy and free the children who have been separated from their families and detained in foster cares and facilities—some in cities like NY, far from their parents.
“I’m just so proud of these women who understand what a serious moment we’re in and what a cruel and inhumane and intolerable and unAmerican thing we are doing thanks to the Trump administration,” Jayapal told ELLE.com shortly after being released from her arrest. “When I was in the federal prison, I saw a slip of paper that a mother handed to me that had her name, her identification number, and then supposedly her kids, except she said, ‘These are not my children.’ So we know that the Trump administration has no idea which kids belong with which parents and where they are.”
I was just arrested with 500+ women and @WomensMarch to say @RealDonaldTrump’s cruel zero-tolerance policy will not continue. Not in our country. Not in our name.
June 30 we’re putting ourselves in the street again.
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) June 28, 2018
The Trump administration claims they are making efforts to reunite families but it’s been a very slow process. In fact, earlier this week a federal judge order the administration to speed up the family reunifications. Judge Dan M. Sabraw of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California gave them 30 days to reunite the families separated by the administration’s “zero-tolerance” prosecution policy. Interesting enough, the administration claims to have a database that was designed to track all separated children and their parents BUT they have zero evidence to prove this actually exists, which means it probably doesn’t.
“We have a lot to do, and this is still a crisis of extreme proportions,” Jaypal told Elle.com. “As a member of Congress, it’s a shame that this government, my government, is doing this to children … I think it is a really beautiful thing that people are allowing themselves to feel so deeply the tragedy of what we’re doing. And that is what’s turning them out, so I’m just grateful to people who refuse to let this die and who are keeping it at the forefront even with all the important issues we have in front of us.”