Protesters at State House: ‘Immigrants Are Welcome Here'

Chanting "No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here," protesters gathered at the Massachusetts State House in Boston to rally against the Trump administration's immigration policy.

For Anne-Marie Badua, this issue hits close to home. She was born in Romania to a refugee woman who had escaped communism.

"It's a big deal for any parent to leave their children," Badua said. "Something's happening that's forcing them to do that."

The debate about immigrants and the "zero tolerance" policy makes her emotional.

"Just can't imagine what the wmoen at the border have gone through and what their children have gone through," she said.

Many children attended the rally as well and expressed their concern with the immigration policy.

"I feel like if they're going to separate their families, their kids should at least come with them," said one child participating in the rally. "You can't just separate a kid and leave them that vulnerable."

During the rally, news broke that President Donald Trump would issue an executive order ending the separation of families by detaining parents and children together, but it did not bring an end to the event.

"Too little too late," said one protester. "This administration has already committed reprehensible crimes that I think are fundamentally un-American. Even getting to this point is a horrible development and we need to be pushing back."

The debate over the separation of families at the border arrived at the State House on Wednesday afternoon as an estimated 2,000 people gathered in opposition to the White House's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, which included a provision to allow immigrant children to be housed in camps, away from their parents.

The protesters demanded increased protections for undocumented immigrants during Wednesday's rally.

One of the speakers at the rally described fleeing her native country for her safety and had to wait 28 years in the United States to finally become a naturalized citizen.

"We need to stop separating our families," she told the crowd. "We're asking our legislators to just pass four amendments in order for them to show that they want to protect our families in the state of Massachusetts."

Another speaker said, "Today in our Commonwealth, our legislators have refused to pass even one small provision to protect immigrants."

She asked the crowd, "Is that acceptable?" and the answer was a resounding, "No!"

Protesters held signs that read "Families Belong Together" and "History is Watching."

The gathering temporarily shut down Beacon Street before the demonstrators funneled into the building, gathering in front of the House chamber chanting "the people united will never be divided" in English and Spanish.

Organizers, including the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, said they want to call attention to the family separations as well as to urge Massachusetts lawmakers to approve protections for immigrants.

Once inside the State House, the protesters stood outside of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's office and chanted "We want Baker! We want Baker! We want Baker!"

Gov. Baker announced Monday that he would not send state National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border due to the president’s stance on separating families.

President Trump signed an executive order later Wednesday ending the practice of separating families but said the "zero-tolerance" policy will continue.

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