‘Keeping Families Together’ rallies gather hundreds in southern Oregon

SOUTHERN OREGON, Ore.– Thousands of people have gathered in the past few weeks to protest the detention and separation of migrant families.

Today across southern Oregon, hundreds held several rallies in local cities to acknowledge the problems they see with the issue. Starting in Grants Pass this morning around 9:30 a.m., residents gathered at Riverside Park and marched to the Josephine County Courthouse, showing their support and waving signs and peace emblems.

A couple hours later, hundreds of people gathered at Vogel Plaza in downtown Medford, to do the exact same thing and take part in the greater national rally “Keep Families Together.”

As people chanted, cheered and honked their horns, residents shared their frustrations and their concerns over President Trump’s decision to separate families at the border.

“So wrong to take a child from their mother,” said Alberto Enriquez. “What doesn’t the president get about that?”

Enriquez, a child migrant himself, when his parents fled Cuba during the 1960s and rise of Fidel Castro. He remembers how they sought political asylum and sees the similarities in where things are today. Through the struggles of growing up in a new country to his parents working endlessly to ensure their family survived, Enriquez see only one difference.

“We went through years of severe poverty. In the first year we were all losing weight as children,” he said. “But at least I had my mother and my father.”

Others without recent immigrant backgrounds were galvanized into action after seeing the images of children, alone and afraid. Those pictures raising furor among citizens across the nation.

“This is wrong, this is unjust and we want the families to stay together,” said Jessica Sage, co-founder of ORD2 Indivisible.

As rallies across the country including southern Oregon continued, speeches addressing a call to action among citizens rang out along with deriding President Trump on his stance towards illegal immigrants.

“I actually consider this terrorism. This is national terrorism by Americans upon Americans,” said Vajra Ma, a member of Rogue Indivisible.

While many people came as part of organizations, plenty of other people showed up as locals and concerned citizens who support those seeking a better life in the U.S.

“They were being abused where they came from and this was a haven, this was a harbor for them,” said Sam Alvord, director of the Pinehurst School District. “And people have become very successful because they were granted mercy.”

Some who disagree with the protests point to the fact that those migrating here and have been detained have been so due to crossing illegally. In certain cities, counter protests addressing this main issue popped up but in Grants Pass and Medford, there was little to no opposition at the rallies.

During a Facebook live by NBC5, comments ranged from support to frustration over the rally. Those who disagreed pointed to the illegality of the migrants as well President Trumps recent executive order ending the separation of migrant families at the border.

Protesters acknowledged those but some agree to disagree with the issues.

“They’re breaking the law, yes, and they’re in desperate situations,” said Ma. “They are trying to protect their children from murder and gangs and sex trafficking.”

NBC5 News Reporter Miles Furuichi graduated from Chapman University with degrees in English and Journalism. He received post graduate experience in Los Angeles in photojournalism and commercial photography. He also spent time in Dublin, Ireland working in print journalism and advertising.

Miles is a Rogue Valley native, raised in Ashland. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and photography.

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