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US Immigration Advocates Plan 600 Rallies Saturday


Immigration activists wrapped in silver blankets, symbolizing immigrant children seen in similar blankets at a U.S.-Mexico border detention facility in Texas, protest inside the Hart Senate Office Building after marching to Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 28, 2018.

Immigration advocacy groups are planning hundreds of marches across the United States on Saturday to protest President Donald Trump's "zero- tolerance" stance on illegal immigration.

A coalition of left-leaning activists, including groups that organized the massive women's marches the past two years, is helping to coordinate more than 600 demonstrations across the country. The groups hope the events draw hundreds of thousands of people.

Organizers say they are receiving strong support from mothers who were opposed to the Trump administration’s previous policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. Several stay-at-home moms are organizing Saturday’s rally in Portland, Oregon.

Protests are being planned in big cities like Washington, Los Angeles and New York as well as smaller communities across the nation, including in Appalachia and the Midwest.

Saturday's rallies, which are being organized under a "Families Belong Together" banner, are getting funding and support from several large organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union and MoveOn.org.

Also Saturday, several Broadway stars are participating in a benefit concert to support efforts to reunite families who were separated at the border with Mexico.

Participants include six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, Wicked and Glee star Idina Menzel and Andrew Rannells, who won a Tony for The Book of Mormon.

​Under Trump's "zero-tolerance'' policy, the government has begun prosecuting all migrants caught entering the country illegally.

FILE - Immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their parents under a new "zero tolerance" policy by the Trump administration, are shown walking in single file between tents in their compound next to the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S.,
FILE - Immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their parents under a new "zero tolerance" policy by the Trump administration, are shown walking in single file between tents in their compound next to the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S.,

Trump has halted his policy of taking children from their detained parents under public pressure, but around 2,000 of them are still being held, with many families saying they don't know how to locate them.

On Thursday, about 600 demonstrators were arrested while occupying a U.S. Senate office building in Washington to protest the administration’s immigration policies. The protesters, mostly women dressed in white, chanted, "Say it loud, say it clear, immigrants are welcome here."

Similar protests also took place elsewhere around the country this week:

— Hundreds gathered at a rally outside a federal courthouse in Brownsville, Texas, near the U.S.-Mexico border.

— In Michigan, dozens of people shut down a government meeting to protest a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to house detainees at a local jail.

— Eight protesters were arrested outside an ICE building in Portland, Oregon, that has been closed because of a round-the-clock demonstration.

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