In the early evening of July 12, about 2,000 people converged at Larsen Park in the U.S./Mexico border community of San Ysidro to protest the inhumane practices of the U.S. government in its criminalization and incarceration of migrant and refugee families.
The event was organized by the Coalition to Close the Concentration Camps–San Diego in response to a call issued by Lights for Liberty for nationwide protests against Trump’s concentration camps.
Indigenous leader Stan Rodriguez opened the rally after a performance by Aztec dancers. After hearing from several spirited speakers from supporting organizations, the coalition, which is led by mostly Latinx and Indigenous members, issued six demands to the Trump administration:
“1. Close the concentration camps! We demand an immediate STOP to the inhumane treatment of children!
“2. Let them all in! Migration is especially a right when the people that are migrating to your country come from areas of the world that your country helped destabilize.
“3. Stop deportations! No human being is illegal and crossing the border to seek refuge is not a crime.
“4. Abolish ICE! We reject the presence of Border Patrol in our communities!
“5. Reunite all children with their families as has already been ordered by the U.S. judicial system.
“6. Decriminalize humanitarian aid! Providing humanitarian aid is NOT a crime. We must IMMEDIATELY drop all charges levied against those that provide aid to migrants!”
Larsen Park is less than a mile away from the busiest port of entry in the Western Hemisphere, with an estimated 100,000 people crossing daily. After the demands were read, the large and loud crowd marched to the border.
Some held signs that read “Close the camps,” “Let them in“ and “Abolish ICE!” They chanted “No to hate! No to fear! Immigrants are welcome here!” “Hey, hey, ho, ho! Donald Trump has to go!” and many other slogans.
At the end of the march, there were several other speakers and the crowd continued to rally until 10 p.m.
The march and rally were co-sponsored by an impressive list of organizations, including the American Friends Service Committee, Armadillos Búsqueda y Rescate, Border Angels, Bridge of Love Across the Border, the Democratic Women’s Club of San Diego County, Colectivo Zapatista, Danza Mexicayotl, the Democratic Socialists of America, Detainee Allies, Kalpulli Ketzalhuitzilin, the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, Lights for Liberty and the National Brown Berets de Aztlan.
Also: The Overpass Light Brigade, the Party for Socialism and Liberation/Answer Coalition, People Over Profits, Raíces Sin Fronteras, San Diego Border Dreamers, the San Diego Committee Against Police Brutality, the San Diego County Central Committee of the Peace and Freedom Party of California, San Diego Indivisible, the San Diego Tenants Union, San Diego Socialists, the Partido de Socialismo Unido/Socialist Unity Party, the University Christian Church-Hillcrest and the Women’s March.
Photos: Raquel “Rocky” Natalicchio