Immigrants who have spent years fighting to change the immigration system are getting newfound support from liberal activists, moms and first-time protesters motivated by a visceral narrative: President Trump’s administration separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, the Associated Press reports. Groups that pulled off massive women’s marches the past two years and other left-leaning rallies are throwing their weight behind migrant families Saturday. More than 600 marches could draw hundreds of thousands of people nationwide, from immigrant-friendly cities like Los Angeles and New York City to conservative Appalachia and Wyoming.
Though many are veteran anti-Trump demonstrators, others are new to immigration activism, including parents who say they feel compelled to show up after heart-wrenching accounts of children forcibly taken from their families as they crossed the border illegally. In Portland, Or., stay-at-home moms are organizing their first rally while caring for young kids. “I’m not a radical, and I’m not an activist,” said Kate Sharaf, a co-organizer in Portland’s event. “I just reached a point where I felt I had to do more.” She and her co-organizers are undaunted after nearly 600 women wearing white and railing against the now-abandoned separation policy were arrested Thursday in Washington, D.C. With demonstrations emerging nationwide, immigrant advocacy groups say they’re surprised — to see the issue gaining traction among those not tied to immigration. “Honestly, I am blown away. I have literally never seen Americans show up for immigrants like this,” said Jess Morales Rocketto of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, which represents nannies, housekeepers and caregivers, many of whom are immigrants. “We just kept hearing over and over again, if it was my child, I would want someone to do something.” Saturday’s rallies are getting support from the American Civil Liberties Union, MoveOn.org, the National Domestic Workers Alliance and The Leadership Conference.