FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Hundreds of people came together in Fort Lauderdale Sunday afternoon sweating, shouting and standing shoulder to shoulder in opposition to the Trump Administration’s policy of separating undocumented immigrant children from their parents.
“No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here,” the crowd shouted, in a rebuke to President Trump’s policies on immigration, which are seen by many activists and immigrants as being focused on keeping certain immigrants and minorities out of the U.S.
“This Administration should be working night and day to reunite these kids with their parents,” said Congressman Ted Deutch, (D) District 22.
Those rallying in Fort Lauderdale spoke about their outrage over children being held in cage-like facilities in Texas, while dozens of other children are being held in a facility in Homestead.
“It is disgusting, despicable, beyond un-American,” said Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, (D) District 23.
The rally took aim at more than the family separation policy, however. A Haitian man named Eii, he declined to provide his last name, spoke about the Trump Administration’s end of Temporary Protected Status. Eli told CBS 4 that in 2010 after an earthquake devastated his country, he and several members of his family came to the US on TPS.
“We came here seeking better opportunity, better education, a future,” Eli said.
He said he and his family have worked hard, attended college and made lives for themselves. Now, they live in limbo since the Trump Administration announced the end of TPS next year. He and his family do not want to return to Haiti where there is little future for them.
“Just living day by day not knowing what happens tomorrow,” he said, describing his mindset.
Stories like Eli’s resonated with the crowd, where people’s anger and frustration with the Trump Administration’s overall immigration policies were on full display through signs with words like, “Zero Tolerance = Zero Humanity” and “Families Belong Together.”
“There is one message,” said Yanira Arias, a TPS holder from El Salvador. “The Administration wants to get rid of migrant families.”
Trump has cited crime from illegal immigrants as a reason to impose zero tolerance on the border. Late last week he held a news conference with families of people whose lives were touched by crime from undocumented immigrants. However, news reports suggest that research shows that native born Americans are much more likely to commit crime that undocumented immigrants.
“Statistics show that he’s absolutely wrong,” said Deutch. “There are people that literally make up numbers to justify their anti-immigrant position.”