"Families Belong Together" Rally Draws Raleigh Crowd Despite Executive Order

Jun 21, 2018

Protesters gathered in Raleigh last night for a rally against the policy of separating families who cross the southern border illegally.

The planned demonstration under the banner "Families Belong Together" continued despite an afternoon announcement that President Trump signed an executive order he says will end the practice.

A couple hundred came together at the Bicentennial Plaza in Raleigh, also despite a heat advisory and the threat of rain. They came to voice their distress over the policy and their concerns about what happens next. 

Jayne Rusincovitch, Ann Buff and daughter Laura Alexander prepared for rain at the rally. Alexander says she wants to hear more details from the Trump administration about how families that were separated in detention centers will be reunited.
Credit Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

Uriel Rodriguez, 12, came to the rally with his family, including his mom who crossed the border from Mexico while pregnant with him. Uriel said it's hard to think about what would have happened if his family had been separated. 

"It's impossible not to cry while I remember the way she crossed the border, and more since my sister could have been torn from my mother," Rodriguez said. "Let's feel like those kids were our kids, our brothers, our families." 

Uriel Rodriguez, 12, address a crowd at the "Families Belong Together" rally, retelling the story of how his mother crossed the U.S. - Mexico border with his older sister, on a trip back to Mexico to bury his grandfather.
Credit Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

Others, like Nida Allam, voiced concerns about how families who had been separated would be brought back together. Allam said she came to rally as a humanitarian, a naturalized citizen herself, and an officer of the North Carolina Democratic Party. She is skeptical of how much the executive order will accomplish.

"The Trump administration coming out and putting out the executive order just proves that he could have done this so many days ago," Allam said. "And it's only a starting point because it's only temporary right now, and we actually have to see the action of families being reunited."

Local attorneys who have represented immigration cases called for more support for illegal immigrants seeking asylum.