Hundreds Rally in ‘Families Belong Together’ Hawai‘i Events
A Families Belong Together sign waving rally was held on Maui on Saturday, June 30, 2018 to support the reunification of migrant children with their parents.
The Maui event was held at the corner of Puʻunēnē and Kaʻahumanu Avenues in Kahului, and was part of a worldwide day of rallies held over the weekend. A similar event was held at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol to protest the Trump administration’s family separation and detention policies.
In April 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolled out the zero-tolerance policy towards migrants seeking asylum. The policy resulted in the separation of children from undocumented immigrants who cross the border.
On June 20th, President Trump announced that Attorney General Jeff Sessions will seek an immediate modification of the Flores settlement agreement, which prevents Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from detaining families together for more than 20 days.
US Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaiʻi who participated in the Honolulu rally over the weekend said, “Today, people are coming together all across the country to say that we can’t be locking up children and separating families. Donald Trump created this crisis through his own actions, blamed others for what’s happening, and used the ensuing chaos to demand a legislative solution that harms even more people. It’s up to each of us, and to the millions of Americans outraged by his actions to stand up, fight back, and demand action.”
Sen. Hirono said she is seeking an end to what she called a “zero humanity” policy. She said, “Trump and his administration have been systematically criminalizing immigration and immigrants, from revoking Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to ramping up intimidating ICE tactics.”
According to the White House website, President Trump’s immigrant policy includes the “swift removal of unlawful entrants.” The site also notes that the President “supports ending chain migration, eliminating the Visa Lottery, and moving the country to a merit-based entry system” to protect American workers. “These reforms will advance the safety and prosperity of all Americans while helping new citizens assimilate and flourish,” according to the President’s policy detailed on the site.
The White House released a Fact Sheet of information on the issue last week saying, “Instead of acting, Congressional Democrats have blocked any effort to detain and remove families together; incentivizing even more illegal immigration.”
Senator Hirono is an original cosponsor of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) Keep Families Together Act to prohibit the Department of Homeland Security from separating immigrant families. Earlier this year, Senator Hirono introduced the Fair Day in Court for Kids Act, which would provide unaccompanied children with access to legal representation when they appear in removal proceedings before an immigration judge.