At least four of the five Democratic candidates in the race for governor said Wednesday they plan to attend a march in Homestead on Saturday to protest the separation of children from their parents in immigration cases.
“This Saturday we have decided to cancel our other events to march in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in South Florida,” Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum said Wednesday. “This moral crisis demands our leaders stand up to this outrage in unequivocal terms, and we will not turn away from what the Trump Administration is doing to these families.”
The protest is the result of the federal government’s recent “zero tolerance” policy in immigration cases in which children are separated from their parents who have illegally entered the country. It’s a policy that President Donald Trump now suggests that he might be ready to reverse.
“We’re looking to keep families together. Very important. We’re going to be signing an executive order,” Trump told reporters at the White House Wednesday morning.
“President Trump’s policy to rip families apart is cruel, bigoted and un-American and (Homeland Security) Secretary Nielsen should resign immediately,” said Chris King, an Orlando-area businessman who is also seeking the Democratic nomination for governor. “I will do everything in my power to make sure Florida is a safe and welcoming place for immigrants –– including my refusal to send Florida National Guard troops to the southern border to support family separation.”
Democratic gubernatorial candidates Gwen Graham and Philip Levine are also expected to attend the march.
The announcement of Saturday’s march in Homestead follows word that immigrant children who had been separated from their parents were being housed at a shelter there. Initial reports on Tuesday suggested 94 children were being housed there. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson now says that number is more like 174.
Gov. Rick Scott sent a letter late Tuesday to the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar telling him that he does not agree with President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy in immigration cases.
“I have been very clear that I absolutely do not agree with the practice of separating children from families,” Scott wrote to Azar. “This practice needs to stop now.”