BRIDGETON — Angered by the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy and families getting separated at the country’s border, protesters are gathering nationally Saturday with one march in Cumberland County.
Dozens of people with signs are outside of the courthouse in the city. The city is the site of one of the only rallies in South Jersey.
“This is a moral outrage and we need to be there to let people know,” said Catharine Rabbai, a commissioner on the Cumberland County Human Relations Commission helping to organize the rally in Bridgeton. “We need to talk for our brothers and sisters, for our humans on this planet.”
Bridgeton’s rally is one of hundreds scheduled across the country as part of the nationwide effort called “Families Belong Together.”
The protests are an effort by national groups such as MoveOn Civic Action, the ACLU, the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Leadership Conference against the administration’s immigration policies and family separation.
Rabbai, also a Hopewell Township resident in Cumberland County, said she’s hoping for “anyone who feels brave enough to show up” to attend the Bridgeton rally. Organizers expect about 50 people to attend, including city officials.
“Down here we have many migrants,” Rabbai said. “We have many Mexican families that have come here and settled, and they do a tremendous amount of work and have boosted our economy.”
The local rally slated for 10 a.m. at the Cumberland County Courthouse at 60 W. Broad St.
It’s one of 16 taking place across this state. Other sites include Asbury Park, Bedminster, Clifton, Edison, Englewood, Flemington, Glen Ridge, Glen Rock, Lambertville, New Brunswick, Newark, Princeton, Red Bank, Rutherford and Toms River.
Thousands also are expected to head to Washington, D.C., to attend the Family Separation protest at the White House on Saturday, according to social media events about the protest.
The Trump administration this month scaled back a key element of its zero-tolerance immigration policy amid uproar over the separation of more than 2,300 migrant families, halting the practice of turning over parents to prosecutors for charges of illegally entering the country.
President Donald Trump’s order required a temporary halt to prosecuting parents and guardians unless they had criminal history or the child’s welfare was in question. He insisted the White House’s zero tolerance policy toward illegal entry remained intact.
Meghan Hurley, communications coordinator at CATA, The Farmworker Support Committee that works for immigrant community rights, said nothing the administration has done is “near acceptable” to what would be fair and just for immigrants.
CATA has an office in Bridgeton, and the members were invited to attend the rally. Hurley said the goal is to reunite every family that’s been separated and to advocate for a more permanent policy.
They “want to see good change and fair change,” she said.
“We’re hoping to spread the word,” she said. “There are a lot of people who support them and are behind them.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.