CHICAGO -- Immigrant rights activists rallied at Chicago's Federal Plaza and in cities across the country Tuesday, to demand an end to the Trump Administration's policy of separating mothers and children in immigration detention.
The rallies are part of a national campaign by the ACLU, which filed a lawsuit this spring over the policy of holding parents in one place and their children in another.
Families that are asking for asylum are being separated.
The ACLU points out they have not broken U.S. law, just presented themselves at the border seeking a better life.
Yet they are being housed in jail cells and separated from their children, sometimes for months at a time.
The Trump Administration calls the policy a deterrent to people seeking asylum.
But Central Americans continue to come: a few months ago 700 children were being held apart from their families, now that number is 2,000 and continuing to grow.
"The number of people presenting themselves at the border have not slowed down. Not been diminished in any way. So whatever this campaign of fear they've decided to try to run is not really working," Ed Yohnka of the ACLU of Illinois said.
The detention facilities, including two in Chicago were supposed to be used for minors who were alone, not those separated from their parents by immigration officials.
In February, the ACLU sued the government for separating a Congolese mother from her 7-year-old daughter. They had arrived in San Diego seeking asylum. The mother was held in California, while her daughter was sent to Chicago. They were just reunited in Chicago after four and a half months.
We can fight gang violence at our borders without dehumanizing immigrants. We can make our border safer without destroying families. Anyone who says otherwise is providing a false choice.
The United Nations has also condemned the policy saying it’s in serious violation of the rights of a child.