MOUNT VERNON — Rain and cloudy skies didn’t stop about 200 community members from gathering Saturday at a Keep Families Together rally in downtown Mount Vernon.
The rally was one of many nationwide to protest the Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the southern border.
U.S. representatives Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., and Rick Larsen, D-Wash., spoke to the crowd on the steps of the Skagit County Courthouse at noon before taking to Kincaid Street to wave at passing vehicles.
“What we have seen at the U.S. border is a tragedy,” Larsen said. “A tragedy in the making and a tragedy that is the making directly of the Trump administration’s policy.”
Larsen said he has faith the federal courts and politicians will fight these separations and pass comprehensive immigration laws.
DelBene condemned the actions of the Trump administration and said from her experience at the border the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is not handling the situation in a humane and organized fashion.
“It is cruel and inhumane what is happening. We cannot stop fighting until every single family is reunited,” DelBene said.
Over the past six weeks, nearly 2,000 children were separated from parents or guardians facing charges related to illegally crossing the border.
On Saturday, picket signs and banners waved throughout the sea of people.
“Familias unidas! No Dividas!” — or “United families! Not divided!” — one read. “Human rights have no borders,” read another.
Flor Zamorano, co-organizer and a former member of the Skagit Valley College Dreamer’s Club, said the event was organized by the Dreamer’s Club, Indivisible Skagit and other groups.
Zamorano wore a jacket that read “I really do care. Do you?” a reference to a coat won by first lady Melania Trump that read, “I really don’t care. Do u?”
“We’re not just passionate about Dreamer students, we’re passionate about any injustice that’s done,” Zamorano said.
John Smith, a 74-year-old from Clear Lake, said he was happy to see the community come out.
“We need an overhaul of the entire immigration system. Congress should get off their dime and do it,” he said.
Dania Jaramillo, a 20-year-old from Mount Vernon, brought her 4-year-old son Julian Savalza to the rally.
“I want him to see all the problems that this country has, so that when he grows up, he knows how to face them and be resilient,” Jaramillo said.
She said seeing the support from the community means a lot for undocumented people such as herself, especially those not protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
She hopes that the negative stigma put on undocumented people will dissipate and that the public will be able to acknowledge the humanity of undocumented people.
“It goes way beyond the title that the government gives to us,” Jaramillo said. “These people see the human in us ... being somebody’s mother, daughter or friend.”