Keep Families Together Rally

By Robert Bernstein

“Keep Families Together” was the rally theme Wednesday night in front of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. President Trump had ordered children be taken from families at the border who were legally seeking asylum. This was an unprecedented increase of anti-immigrant action by the Trump Administration.

Here are all of my photos from the rally.

The rally included former Congress member Lois Capps and her daughter and grandson

Mayor Cathy Murillo was on hand, too

The crowd was large and attentive to those who spoke

Trump came under fire not only from the usual human rights and civil rights crowd. He also came under fire from many leading Republicans and from many of his base in the religious community. Every living First Lady joined forces to condemn the policy.

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden on Monday said he sees a “commonality” between Nazi Germany’s separation of children at concentration camps and the Trump administration policy that is forcing children to be separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

At first Trump claimed only Congress could change the policy. This clearly was untrue, given that Trump had created the policy unilaterally by Executive Order. Under this consolidated opposition, Trump claimed he was reversing this policy with a new Executive Order.

But the protesters were not fooled. As with the Korea agreement, the substance was not the same as what was being claimed. Nothing in Trump’s new order will reunite the thousands of children currently in detention centers with their families.

But, more important, US immigration policy has been cruel, counterproductive, arbitrary and inhumane for decades. This was only the latest round. The protesters here and around the country are calling for a comprehensive plan rationally to deal with immigration.

Ironically, the hostility to immigrants from Mexico and from Central America comes at a time when net immigration has been negative for many years. Farmers in Santa Barbara County had to leave millions of dollars of crops to rot in the fields due to a lack of farm labor.

Statistically, immigrant workers are far less likely to commit crimes or need public assistance than those born here.

After the 9/11 attacks, border security was increased. This had the counter-productive effect of causing more immigrant workers to remain in the US. When there was less border security, workers would come to the US for a limited time to earn money, then return home to their families.

The refugees at the border now are seeking asylum from brutal conditions in their home countries. The tiny country of Jordan has graciously accepted over a million refugees from war-torn Syria. The US in recent years has one of the lowest rates of refugee acceptance in the world.

It is also ironic that the brutal conditions these refugees are fleeing are in large part a creation of past US policy. When Reagan was president, he waged brutal wars against the civilian populations of El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. He effectively took over Honduras as a military base of operations for these actions, destroying civilian government in that country.

Hundreds of thousands fled those countries to come to the US in the 1980s. As conditions improved, many did return. But they brought some bad habits with them that they learned while they were in the US. Many of the brutal gangs of El Salvador actually began with Salvadorans who had been living in Los Angeles and returned home.

The solution is not just more humane treatment of refugees and immigrants. And not just rational immigration reform. We also need a foreign policy based on human rights and development, not on the short term self interest of certain powerful groups in the US.

Here are some of the other scenes and signs at the rally

After the rally at the Art Museum, the crowd marched to the Courthouse


Written by sbrobert

What do you think?


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  1. 1. The adults are being criminally prosecuted. Nowhere in the country do the US Marshals keep kids with their parents during this process.
    2. If they plead guilty they are being united with their kids again in about a day and being sent home.
    3. If the adult requests asylum it takes a long time for that process to go through. The Flores decree of 1997 makes it ILLEGAL to keep the kids with the parents for more than 20 days. They legally have to separate them. Period. It’s the law.

  2. MYTH—– The children have to be separated from their parents because there parents must be arrested and it would be cruel to put children in jail with their parents—-FALSE. First, in the case of economic migrants crossing the border illegally, criminal prosecution has not been the legal norm, and families have been kept together at all cost. Also, crossing the border without documentation is a typically a misdemeanor not requiring arrest, but rather a civil proceeding. Additionally, parents who have been detained have historically been detained with their children in ICE “family residential centers,” again, for civil processing. The Trump administration’s shift in policy is for political purposes only, not legal ones. See p. 18 (

  3. MYTH—–We’re a country that respects the Rule of Law, and if people break the law, this is what they get —– FALSE. We are a country that has an above-ground system of immigration and an underground system. Our government (under both parties) has always been aware that US companies recruit workers in the poorest parts of Mexico for cheap labor, and ICE (and its predecessor INS) has looked the other way because this underground economy benefits our country to the tune of billions of dollars annually. Thus, even though the majority of people crossing the border now are asylum-seekers, those who are economic migrants (migrant workers) likely have been recruited here to do jobs Americans will not do.(

  4. It’s not really a “crime,” it’s a “civil penalty.” So, there’s that. _________ (b) Improper time or place; civil penaltiesAny alien who is apprehended while entering (or attempting to enter) the United States at a time or place other than as designated by immigration officers shall be subject to a civil penalty of—
    (1) at least $50 and not more than $250 for each such entry (or attempted entry); or
    (2) twice the amount specified in paragraph (1) in the case of an alien who has been previously subject to a civil penalty under this subsection.
    Civil penalties under this subsection are in addition to, and not in lieu of, any criminal or other civil penalties that may be imposed.

  5. Why are people down-voting here? Do you folks seriously believe this is not a big deal? Or worse, do you actually support what is going on? I’d love to hear your opinions, instead of anonymous down-votes.

  6. Wonder if the lunatics will ever agree to secure our border, obey the rule of law, and prioritize United States citizens, both natural AND naturalized. The current progressive/liberal agenda is both illogical and unsustainable.

  7. This article and its link is from about 3 weeks ago. Nobody cared when Obama put kids in cages. A reporter tried to nail Trump using a photo of Obama’s caged kids in 2014.
    Title: Caged Migrant Children Photo Goes Viral As Left Rages At Trump; Except It Happened Under Obama
    Everyone is way too hysterical. Parents should not have been sending their kids here unaccompanied. Parents should not have risked their kids by entering illegally themselves.

  8. Here’s the article on the Obama era holding cells. Apparently a photographer by the name of Ross D. Franklin toured a holding facility in Nogales. Not photoshopped. It’s the real deal. I do have a heart. This whole situation is horrible. The only way to correct this is change immigration law.

  9. They’ve been recruited for doing the jobs that Americans won’t do FOR THE PAY OFFERED. They should be forced to raise the pay for those legal residents who pick the crops NOT pay illegal labor less than the legal rate.

  10. Changing immigration law is not the full solution because it does not address the root of the problem. The true root is the lack of justice, limited opportunities for prosperity, and lack of safety as pointed out by Sacjon. I’ve lived in the slums in Honduras, and it’s heart breaking to see what’s happening down there. Many of our lifestyle choices up here make their lives miserable down there. Seek justice, be charitable, and support organizations that bring peace to Central America.

  11. The agenda of wanting an open border. This isn’t rocket science. Legal immigration is right. Illegal immigration is wrong. Easy. Clear. Understandable. Unless you’re a progressive liberal who doesn’t understand the negative consequences of an open, lawless border.

  12. I agree with you, but why is there sooooo much false outrage? It does not make sense why the protests take place only for the sake of protesting. Maybe Ashleigh B. Can come up with one of his whimsical “potshots” to point out the ironic nature of the SB “politicos.”

  13. Clearly those who support Trump on this issue can’t handle the facts … I stated only facts in my one post (confirmed @NPR, Washington Post, and LA Times) and didn’t direct any comments (negative or otherwise) towards any other commenters. And still my post was down-voted as were others stating verifiable info.

  14. Where in heck does “using children as pawns or shields come from”? Families come from So. American countries to flee repressive and abusive regimes, looking for asylum. Do complainers about mean the kids should be left behind?

  15. So emotional, everyone has good points. Children should not be separated from their, but those parents should not be using their children as pawns to gain some sort of special treatment. If you break the law you pay the consequences, no matter if it’s a misdemeanor or a felony.
    The point that these illegals should get a ticket and promise to appear is ridiculous. The percentage that show up in court is beyond low.
    You enter any country illegally you face consequences

  16. Big media is definitely not helping anyone here. I already pointed out how photos from June 2014 were used to start outrage on this subject, and it just isn’t stopping. The current cover of Time Magazine has a photoshopped, absolutely false collage on it which was also used to whip up emotion on this topic. I’m putting two links here that deconstruct this miscarriage of media. and the second one I don’t do Fox and I don’t do CNN. Before reflexively down voting me, read the links. Both sides are being played big time by corporate interests. This cover of Time is the rawest example of a corporate-globalist attempt to shape the opinion of the masses.

  17. So if their kids are being taken from them for committing “crimes” (misdemeanors actually) why aren’t DUI offenders not separated from their kids? Tax cheats? Petty larcenists? I’ll tell you why…. this is the new normal where the law doesn’t matter any more only the political expediency of abusing the law for political gain. THAT is the abomination, where anything goes so long as it supports “OUR guy” (who just happens to be a pretty lousy human being).

  18. So the law being enforced by the administration today was originally approved by the Clinton Administration. Every president since has enforced it. Obama tried to keep families together but the 9th Circuit struck that order down (case of the kettle calling the pot…). So Trump signs exec order that essentially doesnt do alot but state a goal. Congress needs to fix – that is who is holding this up. Why didnt we see these same protests when Obama was waisting space in the White House? If the left wont cross the aisle to solve immigration folks then they must be voted out of office. Wake up folks!!
    Also I have to say I would love to see the same numner of people protesting on State St. for military families who are seperated for deployments or god forbid forever because the parent is killed in action. Always amazes me how these folks hurry to the support illegals and not US Citizens…

  19. Anyone who thinks taking little children from their parents is right is pretty cold. The Nazis told Jews they were going to take shower and gassed them in the showers. These parents were told the kids were going to be bathed and put them in cages. Sure, women in jail here can’t take their children, but they are placed with relatives or foster parents, not masses of them herded into pens like cattle. Coming here for asylum is a long a tradition in America, it’s what our Statue of Liberty stands for.

  20. Those signs are correct. There is no such thing as an “illegal” human. However, there is such a thing as coming into a country illegally. If you can’t go through the immigration process legally, then you don’t belong here. And neither do your children.

  21. The first time caught is a misdemeanor and they get sent home, after that it is a felony and they are treated as felons. I see nothing wrong with that. The problem starts by people breaking our laws. They should always be held accountable.

  22. The long-term answer to the immigration issue has been staring us in the face for decades: economic justice for workers and peace in communities on both sides of the border. The U.S. has been interfering in Latin America for more than a century, usually in harmful ways. For example, in the 1980s, our government supported a repressive government in El Salvador; Salvadorans fled to the U.S.; young men unable to get jobs joined gangs; our officials deported them back to El Salvador; they perpetuated gang violence there; more Salvadorans fled their violence; and on it goes. Of course, helpful programs would cost money. Then our one percent would have to get by with fewer tax breaks.

  23. Last week, Rob Reiner hit the nail on the head when he said all of the hate and vitriol toward Trump is only helping him and Republicans. If you do not, or refuse to believe this, just look at the much-anticipated “Blue Wave” that is not going to happen. As far as the breaking up families, most US citizens put the blame on Trump.

  24. Actually, MSN yesterday admitted the kids in cages pics being circulated were taken on June 18, 2014. Yes, 2014. They plainly wrote these were ‘”file photos taken on June 18, 2014.” And the crying child photo was simply a child who had been crying, but her mother was standing next to her & they were not being separated. The mother left her husband & 3 other kids behind to seek “economic opportunity” & paid a smuggler 6 grand to get her over. Six grand.

  25. JJ and F1. That’s why I include the links for my statements. If anyone pastes the links into their browser they can see the article themselves. June 2014, Photographer Ross D Franklin, Location Nogales. Simple. The crying child story is especially outrageous because Time is using an image to evoke feelings that have nothing to do with the reality of why that child is there. F1 You got the facts straight. Not seeking asylum, abandoned her other kids and husband in Honduras, second time illegal entry making it a felony, paid coyote $6K, husband was employed at home. Her true story does not fit the narrative used to influence people’s actions. It’s beyond fake news, it’s intentionally fraudulent…and they don’t care.

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