MIAMI (CBSMiami) – This weekend hundreds have taken to the streets of South Florida to protest the nation’s highly criticized immigration policy.READ MORE: Mother Named Person Of Interest After Police ID Bodies Of Two Girls Found In Lauderhill Canal
They are marching under the banner ‘Families Belong Together.’
The local rally was one of hundreds held across the country.
From California to New York, demonstrators calling on the Trump administration to reunite immigrant families.
Chants for freedom filled Downtown Miami on Saturday.
Hundreds of protesters speaking out against President Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policy that has separated thousands of kids from their families.
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“More than 2500 children were picked up, of which only 500 have been returned to their families,” said Melissa Taveras, Spokesperson for the Florida Immigration Coalition. “In addition to that. we’re very displeased with the fact that asylum seekers who should be treated as refugees are actually being treated as criminals.”
This march, which started at the Miami-Dade College Wolfson Campus and ended at the Freedom Tower, brought out people from many backgrounds, some of whom coming from immigrant families themselves.
“I don’t agree with the zero-tolerance policy,” said Carmen Villafane. “I think that everyone deserves due process. That’s what this country is all about. We’re a land built by immigrants.”
“I am just sickened by the way the government is treating these small children,” said Susan B. Peterson. “I think it’s so wrong. I think it’s criminal and it needs to stop.”
Some of those children ended up in South Florida, at a holding center in Homestead. But organizers of Saturday’s rally say the protest is twofold.
Maria Rodriguez, the Executive Director with the Florida Immigration Coalition, not only wants to see ICE abolished; she says the current immigration policy is good business for some companies.MORE NEWS: Pembroke Pines Teen Sanura Domond Found Safe
“It comes at a high tax payer cost and also at a high moral cost,” Rodriguez said. “The second piece that’s not being addressed is the profiteering off of this crisis and the fact that for profit prisons are using this moment to push policies of incarceration.”