'Kids Caravan' protests Trump immigration policies at the White House

'Kids Caravan' protests Trump immigration policies at the White House
© Aida Chavez

Over 200 children and activists gathered in front of the White House on Thursday to protest President Trump's immigration policies as part of the "We Belong Together Kids Caravan."

According to organizers, the group included children from Washington, D.C., and other states who began their journey to Washington from Miami last week to "send a message" to the president.

The group stopped in Atlanta and the Raleigh-Durham area in North Carolina before ending their trip in D.C.

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Those at the rally heard stories from young people whose parents have been deported or targeted by immigration enforcement officials.

Children and teenagers chanted slogans, held signs and spoke about the struggles of having undocumented parents.

One of the speakers was Leah Wilson, an 11-year-old. Wilson said she was born in Miami to undocumented parents and that her mother has a deportation order.

“It is a horrible feeling. It is like when somebody you care about can die at any moment,” she told the rally. “It is sad because if she gets deported I will never see her again. I don’t know how long it would be to see my mom if she gets back to Nicaragua. I will be put in foster care if she gets deported."

“I cannot even sleep or do my homework,” she continued. “All I can think about is my mother being taken away from me. But I also know that it does not have to be that way. We don't have to destroy communities just because Trump said so.” 

The Trump administration has stepped up its enforcement of immigration laws, targeting illegal immigrants as well as those with criminal records.

Democrats, though, have blasted the moves, saying they are dividing families and raised particular concern about the fate of immigrants who were brought to the U.S. by their parents as minors.

The children of Jeanette Vizguerra, an undocumented mother of four who recently sought sanctuary inside a Denver church in wake of a pending deportation order, also spoke at the rally.

“I just get mad because Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDems win from coast to coast Falwell after Gillespie loss: 'DC should annex' Northern Virginia Dems see gains in Virginia's House of Delegates MORE is just making the wrong decisions,” said Roberto, Vizguerra’s 10-year-old son, an American citizen.

“Why is he doing all this? Why is he wanting to build a wall? … We’re not animals just because we’re different.”