The government has until Thursday at 6 p.m. to reunite families it separate when it invoked a “zero-tolerance” immigration policy. And on the day of the deadline child protesters gathered for a "I am a child" March in Washington, DC.
The group Families Belong Together, which organized a march back in June to advocate for the 2,342 children that were separated from 2,206 parents at the US-Mexico border between May 5 and June 9, according to Vox.
“Today is the deadline for the Trump Admin to reunite all families separated at the border,” the organization Families Belong Together tweeted. “That’s why we’re marching to the Capitol in a call to return ALL 3,000 children they have ripped apart from their parents with the #IAmAChild March. #FamiliesBelongTogether”
Although the deadline is looming, CNN reported that about 900 parents won't be reunited in time. There are a variety of reasons for this. In some cases, the government can't track down parents, and in others they've already been deported or they have extreme criminal backgrounds.
And Thursday morning protesters sat with their kiddos at the Hart Senate Office Building, CNN reported. Many of the kids wore shirts that said “I Am A Child” and they laid a banner on the ground with the simple slogan.
And while the issue is an extremely heavy one, some of the cute children who showed up in support of the protest are warming the hearts and souls of the Twittersphere. Families Belong Together posted a photo of some of the kids as they marched and held hands.
Another user, Anisha Singh posted a photo of four little ones marching with the caption: “OUR BABIES SHOULD NOT HAVE TO MARCH TO REMIND YOU TO CARE ABOUT BABIES.”
And the rallying phrase of Thrusday’s protesters has a special meaning. “I Am a Child” pays homage to civil rights imagery from the “I Am a Man” Protest led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, The Washington Post reported.
Paola Mendoza told The Post she created the signs to “humanize these children because the only way this unconscionable treatment continues to happen is when these children are dehumanized.”
“And we’ve seen the president do that, calling them or their families animals and criminals and gang members and rapists,” Mendoza told The Post. “We’ve seen Attorney General [Jeff] Sessions talk about smuggling children like drugs, like they’re not people. So it was important to me to remind all adults, no matter what your political ideology is that these are children. That’s it. They’re children. And they have a human right to stay with their parents.”
The nonprofit organization The Lawyers’ Committee tweeted a haunting black and white photo of a little girl holding a sign with the slogan, along with older civil rights photographs.
“In 1968, the iconic Memphis sanitation strikers held "I Am a Man" signs to represent their dignity in the face of human rights abuses,” the committee wrote. “Today, #IAmAChild reminds us that ALL #FamiliesBelongTogether and protecting refugee children is a test of our humanity.”
Families Blong Together also tweeted out a photo of Sen. Kamala Harris greeting the protesting children at the Washington protest. They showed a photo of the senator posing with kids of varying ages surrounded by a sea of “I Am a Child" imagery.
And as little ones make their voices heard at the protests, we’re sure to see more adorable photos of kids making their voices heard about an important cause at a young age.