Thousands in Minneapolis protest immigration policies

Part of the 'Families Belong Together' march

Sloane Martin
June 30, 2018 - 6:35 pm

The #KeepFamiliesTogether march and rally drew thousands to downtown Minneapolis -- one of 11 sites in the state to protest Trump administration immigration policies and one of hundreds in all 50 states.

Activists say they want families separated at the southern border reunited now and the end family detention.

Jose Ricardo Valentin Pena, 18, is a DREAMer. He and his 16-year-old sister Rachelle Valentin's father was sent back to Mexico several years ago which has put a significant strain on their family here. Rachelle says she seeks therapy, while their mother works two jobs with their father more than 1,600 miles away. But seeing the massive support has them feeling encouraged.

"Spectacular, honestly," Pena said. "This amount of people, it shows that we care about these children, we are about what opportunities they can have here in the U.S."

"Nobody else should have to go through what we're going through," Rachelle Valentin said. "It's kind of unbelievable that our story isn't the worst out there, but it's still horrible."

Protesters marched from the convention center to the Hennepin County Jail and back in the sweltering heat. Many signs read "reunite families" while some played off of First Lady Melania Trump's infamous jacket the day she traveled to the southern border to say, "I really do care." People on a busy and hot day watched along in the skyways.

"It's been really, really hard to see all that, and this is why we're here fighting back, so there's no more separation of families," Gerania Mata Guzman, an organizer with the labor organization CTUL, said through a translator of taking part in the Families Belong Together March.

President Trump appeared to address the protests in three tweets today: