Hundreds of protesters fighting against the separation of migrant families marched through Boston on a sweltering Saturday afternoon to a county jail that houses undocumented immigrants.
The group, part of a national movement to protest President Trump’s immigration policies, staged a rally outside the South Bay House of Correction. About 20 protesters linked arms and sat on the sidewalk in front of the jail, as more than a dozen law enforcement officers stood behind them with helmets and batons.
The crowd pushed for the abolishment of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Signs at the protest included “No More Detention,” “Abolish ICE,” and “Polar Bears Need ICE. We Don’t.” People chanted in Spanish and English.
Several speakers at the rally, which was mainly organized by the grass-roots organization Movimiento Cosecha, were undocumented immigrants who had personal experiences with family separation.
“Regardless of where I’m at, I’ve got to fight for this community, which is my community,” said Karla Rojas, 24, an organizer who was brought to the United States from Mexico at age 7. “I came here as a child, so I know how much it impacted my life.”
“It makes me feel happy there are people here supporting our people, our community, because we need to be united to make the change,” said Rojas, who lives in Philadelphia.
The group’s end goal is to raise enough awareness to organize a seven-day labor strike, “basically to show this country that without immigration labor, it wouldn’t be able to function,” said Patricia Murphy, an organizer and spokeswoman for Cosecha.
“We are not putting our faith in politicians to get us what we want,” she said.
Although the temperature was in the upper 80s, several of the demonstrators were at their second protest of the day because they had come from the earlier rally in City Hall Plaza and Boston Common.
“We’re sweating our asses off, but it’s clearly very important to everyone,” said Jonathan Glancy, 37, of Cambridge, holding a sign that said, “Stop Basing National Security On Your Personal Insecurity.”
On the walk from Wellington Common Park in the South End to the jail, protesters completely flooded the southbound lanes of Massachusetts Avenue. Police accompanied the groups and assisted them in crossing through intersections. Many people walking or driving by the protest honked or cheered along as the rally participants chanted “Shut Down ICE” and other calls.
The group later chanted directly to immigrants who were detained inside the jail, shouting, “We see you! We see you!”