Florida’s Historic Capitol lawn was the backdrop for a protest Tuesday calling for the closure of migrant detention centers.
Organized by progressive organization MoveOn.org, “Close the Camps” protests were held across the country this week. Organizers planned the demonstrations at legislators’ local offices ahead of the holiday weekend, hoping the timing would mean members of Congress may be home for the Fourth of July. Longtime lobbyist Barbara DeVane was among the crowd, some of whom paid a visit to U.S. Senator Marco Rubio’s office.
“He of all people that represent Florida should understand why mothers and fathers would risk their lives to get their kids out of what they consider harm to their kids, for a better life,” DeVane said. “And that’s what America is all about.”
Rubio’s parents immigrated from Cuba in the late 1950s.
Some other protestors say they’re tired of inaction from the Trump administration. Jeremy Block was one of those braving the afternoon heat to get a message out as drivers whizzed by on Apalachee Parkway.
“This t-shirt I’m wearing about don’t separate the families is a t-shirt I got at last year’s rally right at this spot, and nothing has changed in the last 12 months,” Block said. “We’re still here, we still have the same issues, and they’re still not being addressed.”
Even after a number of Democratic presidential hopefuls toured the Homestead Detention Facility during debate week in South Florida days ago, Shari Gewanter is frustrated that nothing has moved on a policy level.
“I think there’s a lot of talk, and what we need is some action. I lost all of my family except for my mother and my grandparents and an aunt and uncle on my mother’s side to the Holocaust, and what I’m seeing now feels just like that,” Gewanter said. “So, we can’t stand by and do nothing, we have to do something.”
About 60 people turned out to protest Tuesday.