Thousands gathered at Houston's City Hall to march in nationwide "Families Belong Together" rally


HOUSTON – Thousands of people gathered at the steps of Houston's City Hall on Saturday morning to march as part of the national "Families Belong Together" protest.

More than 700 similar events took places nationwide to demonstrate against President Donald Trump's strict stance on immigration.

"There is people power, and we can see that when we unite together and fight together, we can accomplish so much," said Damaris Gonzalez, leader of United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led network. "Today, we're demanding Congress to stop funding ICE and CBP, and we want to abolish these two agencies."

Thousands of demonstrators marched from City Hall to Senator Ted Cruz's office demanding officials to reunite undocumented families facing incarceration, de-fund ICE and stop a children's detention facility from operating in Houston.

READ: Mayor Turner addresses proposed immigrant detention center near downtown Houston

"I'm a psychologist, and I'm really concerned about the children being traumatized," said Dr. Blanca Hernandez, a participant in the march.
"It's just inconceivable to me to be without parents when you're young, so causing that as part of a political thing seems to be wrong," Jan Duracz said.

Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to keep undocumented immigrant families together while they wait for a ruling on their status.

"It is not enough to have done this executive order. We are incarcerating families, that again goes against international law. We cannot tolerate this under our country," said Carlos Duarte, state director of Mi Familia Vota, a local advocacy group aiming to raise local voter registration.

People brought their families on this hot June summer day.

"I brought my kids," said mother Tiffany Perkins. "We're here to resist and not let history happen again."

Elected officials including State Senator Sylvia Garcia and U.S. Congressman Al Green came and showed their support for the march.

"It is hot today. We're in the street today, so this is a form of street heat that sends a message," Green said.

"We're with you! We stand with immigrants ... help is on the way to Washington," Garcia said.

Organizers with FIEL, United We Dream, AFL-CIO, Black Lives Matter Houston, DSA Houston, MoveOn, Pantsuit Republic Houston and other community groups showed up in support, hoping that this united voice will get people to act at the polls during the midterm election.

"People are here fighting for these families, and so we know that there is hope," Gonzalez said.