Protests around the country Tuesday called for changes to policy at migrant detention centers open in regions near the southern border, with demonstrators blasting the Trump administration’s hardline stance on people in the U.S. without government permission.
For his part, President Donald Trump has long insisted deportations and other tough actions are needed to secure the nation.
Burlington, Vermont was among the communities that saw demonstrations calling for the closure of the detention centers, in a march and rally that drew an estimated 250 or so participants.
“What’s going on is totally unamerican and totally not right, and needs to stop – immediately,” said demonstrator Polly Schramm of Enosburgh.
The activists joined a national day of action decrying conditions in migrant detention centers they label inhumane, and called for an end to federal policies handling undocumented people and asylum-seekers—calling family separations at the border especially cruel.
“Babies need parents,” said rally participant Madeleine Kunin, a Democrat who served as Vermont’s governor from 1985 to 1991. “Children need parents. And we need to translate our anger and our shock into action.”
“If this were my child in this camp, I would do everything in my power,” observed Kelly Cummings of Franklin, who also attended the rally. “And then I thought, “Why is it OK to not do everything in my power if it’s not my child?’ It’s somebody’s child!”
The crowd urged Vermont’s liberal Congressional delegation to keep pushing back against the Trump administration’s hardline stance on people who enter the country without government permission.
However, the group did not find a supporter in Joseph Sysling of Katy, Texas, who voiced his disagreement with the demonstration from the sidelines of the protest—even defending deportations.
“I’m not against people coming to the United States,” Sysling told necn. “But do it the right way. Go through the paperwork; go through the process.”
Organizers of Tuesday’s march and rally promised to keep up the pressure until they see a change at those detention centers.