Hundreds gathered on Library Mall over the weekend to protest President Donald Trump’s administration’s policy of separating children from families who cross over the U.S. southern border.
Though opponents of the policy scored a win last week when Trump signed an executive order to stop separations, marchers this weekend still protested what they call “intolerable” immigration policies.
A coalition of local groups, including local chapters of IWW, various socialist groups, national organization for women and Union de Trabajadores Inmigrantes.
International Socialist Organization spokesperson Michael Billeaux says the draw for socialist organizers is that the idea of open borders is core to socialist ideology.
“Part of the vision for a socialist world and a just world is a world without borders, where the restriction on the free movement of human beings is lifted, and where we don’t have this imaginary line in the dirt that reaches into people’s lives in this way and takes people from their home,” Billeaux says.
Billeaux says the Madison groups came together within a week to organize the march. He says ongoing detentions at the border gave organizers a sense of urgency.
Family members of a detained Milwaukee man, Franco Ferreyra, brought the issue of detentions to the forefront as they spoke a the rally.
One of those family members was Alysha Ferreyra. She and her ex-husband Franco have four children together, three of whom were at Saturday’s rally.
“My kids are devastated and heartbroken and we live every day in pain and sorrow,” Ferreyra says. “My children are not OK. Emotionally and mentally they are suffering and they are in pain.”
Franco Ferreyra has been in the country since 2001 after over-staying a 90-day visa. He was detained earlier this month by immigration officials when he followed up on a driving infraction.
His sister, Carolina Brumfield, says his time in jail has taken a toll on him.
“He is not OK in there and he needs help,” Brumfield says. “Mentally and emotionally he is exhausted.”
The organizers marched from Library Mall, up State Street and to the Capitol, where they outlined a list of demands they wanted to see.
Saturdays demonstration comes ahead of a nation-wide demonstration against Trump’s immigration policy that is set to take place next Saturday.
Will Kenneally reported this story.