On June 30, 60,000 protesters took to the streets of Chicago to protest the inhumane immigration and family separation policies of the Trump administration. The Families Belong Together march began at Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago, and brought out a diverse, multi-national crowd of individuals and members of various progressive organizations, unions, and community groups. The massive crowd mobilized despite an excessive heat warning in Chicago, with temperatures reaching 95°F.
ANSWER Chicago and the Chicago branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation participated in the march, leading the Abolish ICE contingent, which called for an end to immigration-related separations, detentions and deportations; the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and no border wall. The contingent’s demand for full rights for all immigrants also means that the “Muslim ban,” recently upheld by the Supreme Court, must come to an end. The contingent connected immigration detentions to the issues of imperialism and racism with chants of “From Palestine to Mexico, Borders Walls Have Got to Go,” and “Black Lives Matter.” In addition to the dozens of members of the contingent, other marchers around readily joined in with the chants and cheers.
The march was a mass mobilization with attendance from broad sectors of society, but a large part of the crowd seemed to recognize how the systemic issues being protested existed long before Trump took office. Signs calling for the abolition of ICE were common even outside the contingent. Other banners at the march drew comparison between the current detention of immigrants and prior racist US actions like the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
Juan Mercado came to march with the Abolish ICE contingent because he found, “The whole conversation about immigration too narrow, families have been detained for a while now.” He traveled to downtown Chicago and sought out the contingent specifically because of the call to abolish ICE.
Another attendee, who had never attended a large march before, Noel Delgado, said he came to “Lend his voice to the children and adults being detained.”
Amanda Goldstein, the daughter of a Filipino immigrant, said she saw the policies being applied at the border as being tied to her oppression as a Filipina. “ICE is one tentacle of the oppressive octopus,” she said, explaining how immigration policy pits different immigrant communities in the U.S. against each other.
The massive turnout shows how many people are turning against the racist system of immigration detention and deportation, and embracing a more universal idea of equal rights for all! Chicago PSL is hosting a series of “Summer of Socialism Classes” to build on the current increased interest in revolutionary politics, with the next class, the Bipartisan Deportation Machine, on Wednesday, July 11.