Mothers and nannies pushing strollers and jangling tambourines marched around the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s New York headquarters Wednesday, calling on the agency to halt the detainment of immigrant children.
The joint effort between the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the domestic employers network Hand in Hand brought about 50 people to Foley Square.
The domestic workers at the protest, many of whom were immigrants, said the nature of their work have impassioned them to help end the detentions.
“As a nanny, I know what it is to take care of a child and to make sure that child is healthy and well-balanced,” said Jacqui Orie, 50, a member of NDWA. “Children belong with their families. Children need to be out in the sunshine. They need to be free. They need to be running around. They need to be playing. They should not be detained.”
Many of the women at the protest were mothers themselves. Hand in Hand co-founder Gayle Kirshenbaum said she helped start the organization because she employed an immigrant domestic worker to help raise her child.
“I am outraged as a mother at the assault against immigrant families and the intolerable separation that children are experiencing from their parents,” she said. “It is important that all employers of domestic workers and anybody who has a relationship with immigrants and anybody of conscience in this country step up and be heard and be seen.”
Marisa Gonzalez, 61, of Chinatown, does not have children herself, but she marched with a sign that read “Harm to children and families is never a solution.”
“On my name and on my tax dollars this cannot happen,” Gonzalez said.
As part of the demonstration, children also acted out a mock trial of ICE (personified by a blue balloon with an angry face drawn in Sharpie). After the children found ICE guilty of detaining and inadequately caring for children, they led the adults around the block, singing “families belong together.”
“I feel that ICE is a very bad organization and that they’re just wasting their time doing this, because they already know that we are going to fight and we are going to win,” said Summer, 9, who wore a white powdered wig as judge of the mock trial.
The protest concluded at Foley Square with a picnic for the kids.