By Skylar Barti and Ryan Mancini
Hundreds of Santa Clarita Valley residents, activists, immigrants and politicians Saturday marched to City Hall, protesting the White House’s use of a “zero tolerance” policy that separated undocumented immigrant children from their parents at the border.
Hosted by several Democratic groups, the Rally For Families Belong Together March began at the corner of McBean Parkway and Valencia Boulevard at 10 a.m., culminating outside the City Hall building. Protestors carried signs and chanted their opposition to the policy.
Susan Burrows-Rangel, a Stevenson Ranch resident and immigrant from Australia, said she attended knowing how difficult the immigration process can be in the United States.
“I wasn’t in the same situation as a lot of these people who are overseas that are desperate, that they want to do what they can to protect their families,” she said. “So I’m here on behalf of mums and families, just to make sure that everyone’s kept together, because if it was someone taking my kids away from me when we were trying to emigrate, it would be horrible. It’s stressful enough as it is.”
Santa Clarita resident Anthony Breznican marched while carrying a large American flag, preferring that over a protest sign or banner. He carried it to follow a symbol of generosity, fairness and freedom, he said.
“We came out here just to show that this is not a leftist issue, not a rightist issue but a family issue, and if you believe in decency, you have to be for due process of law and we’re not following that right now in this country and I think it’s up to us to insist on some personal responsibility for the president and his administration,” he said.
President Trump signed an executive order June 20, allowing “to continue to protect the border with our zero-tolerance policy, while also avoiding the separation of illegal alien families, to the extent he can legally do so,” according to the White House website.
Following the march, organizers and protestors walked or drove to the Unity BBQ and Picnic at Richard Rioux Park. The political activist group that organized the event, Swing Left, presented Katie Hill, D-25th congressional district, with a check of exactly $164,297.14, which the group raised through events like art auctions.
The rally picnic kicked off after a march to city hall to show support of keeping families together, to show that Democrats can also be the party that supports family values, Christy Smith said.
“As far as the barbecue, (Democrats) are all coming together,” Smith said as the crowd began filing into the park. “Now that we’ve selected our nominees for the November general election, to come together as a party, as a community to get ready for the November general election.”