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End Detention Rally Brings Thousands to Downtown Chicago

By Roberto Valdez Jr., Communications and Development Coordinator

The Latino Policy Forum was a supporting organization for the July 13, 2019, “End Detention, Welcome Immigrants’ rally at Daley Plaza.

As soon as I arrived at this gathering I thought to myself "I can't believe we're having to do this again." We were here a year ago when the Forum was a sponsoring organization of the "Keeping Families Together" rally that drew 65,000 people to the plaza to protest family separations at the southern border.

This time, over 15,000 people gathered to demand an end to the criminalization of immigrants in the U.S., people who are coming to the border seeking asylum and seeking a better life for themselves and their families. The rally involved advocates from immigrant rights groups, social justice organizations, different religious congregations, and grassroots initiatives who amplified their support for the immigrant community in Chicago and Illinois.

Representatives denounced the current administration’s immigration policies which is ripping families apart, detaining immigrants in cages and treating them as less than human, causing fear amongst communities with its anti-immigrant rhetoric, and causing the death of children at the border. Speakers, like Congressman Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia and Illinois Lt. Gov. Julianna Stratton, stepped up to the podium to energize the crowd. Both Garcia and Stratton passionately rejected the administration’s announcement of potential ICE raids this past weekend and emphasized the need for immigrants, and every person in Illinois, to understand their rights if or when immigration officials arrive at their home. In addition, both Garcia and Stratton talked about the importance of the upcoming 2020 Census and how it is a way to leverage the power our local communities have and ensure we continue to protect immigrants.

A march after the rally filled downtown Chicago’s streets and brought further awareness to an issue that should be burning in the minds of every American.