Saturday, June 30, 2018

Thousands Stage Immigration Protests, Marches Across South Florida
Sun Sentinel

Several hundred people marched outside the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Saturday , waving signs and shouting slogans protesting the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

It was just one of several protests across South Florida and part of some 700 nationwide demonstrations by groups including the Move On and Families Belong Together organizations to bring about change in immigration policy.

“Our country was founded out of a concern for decency,” said Laura Samuels, who drove from Delray Beach to attend the protest in Hollywood. “There is no basic, fundamental decency to separating families of immigrants.”

Hollywood Police had to hold back the growing crowd that spilled off the sidewalk onto South Ocean Drive across from the Diplomat. Sporadic rain did not dampen the demonstrators’ resolve.

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Protestors held signs that read, “Abolish ICE, Deport Racists,” and “I Care,” as passing motorists honked their horns in support.

Plantation resident Debbie Greenspan said this was the first demonstration she ever attended because she was passionate about the issue.

“I just can’t bear babies being taken from their parents or even putting the whole family in jail,” she said. “I mean, what is wrong with these people? It’s beyond comprehension.”

Some who showed up to the rally were seasoned anti-Trump demonstrators, others -- like Greenspan -- were new to immigration activism. Some parents said they feel compelled to show up after gut-wrenching accounts of children forcibly taken from their families as they crossed the border illegally.

Rucsandra Vitere, 23, is an Orlando area school teacher who joined the Hollywood demonstrators in support of some of her students who came from trouble-spots in Venezuela, Guatemala, and especially Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, she said.

“I came out here because I teach a lot of immigrant children,” she said. “I’m the daughter of a refugee, my mom, who came here in the early 90s seeking asylum from Romania.”

Noemi Gonzalez was born in Argentina, became an American while living in Texas, and has three American-born children with her in Pembroke Pines.

“I am here because I know the pain you have when you have kids and you don’t know if you can stay here,” she said. “With a president like this, I don’t even know if he can touch my kids.”

Twylia Fannin is a self-described feminist, activist and mother from Miami who is a regular participant for causes like keeping families together.

“It’s not just Trump, it’s the Republican leadership,” she said. “[They] could do something about this… but they just keep their mouths closed while we lose our democracy.”

The demonstration in Hollywood began at 10 a.m. and lasted past noon until the protesters were satisfied their message was heard.

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