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Protesters March Nationwide Against Family Separations


We're going to start the program today talking again about immigration and the divisive issue of family separations at the southern border. The Trump administration now says it will try to keep families together. But last night, the Department of Justice said that would require children to spend potentially long stints in detention centers. We'll have more on that in a few minutes.

But first, in cities across the country, activists took to the streets, including here in Washington, D.C., where high temperatures did not stop thousands of people from marching. NPR's Adhiti Bandlamudi reports.

ADHITI BANDLAMUDI, BYLINE: The main march was held in D.C., but there were sister marches in cities and towns across the country. Some even had celebrity appearances. John Legend performed at the march in Los Angeles. Lin-Manuel Miranda sang at D.C.'s event.


LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: (Singing) You will come of age with our young nation. We'll bleed and fight for you. We'll make it right for you. If we lay a strong enough foundation, we'll pass it on to you.


BANDLAMUDI: The marches are in protest of the Trump administration's policy for detaining migrant families. For weeks, parents and children trying to cross the border have been separated from each other, with parents sent to federal detention centers and children sent to shelters sometimes miles away from their parents.

Shelby Workman is a preschool teacher from Virginia and brought her whole family to the march.

SHELBY WORKMAN: As an American, as someone who's patriotic who loves our country, it's my job to make sure this doesn't continue, that if there's anything I can do to change it, then I need to do it because I do love my country.

BANDLAMUDI: For Selma Caal, it hits closer to home. Her mother brought her and her little brother to the U.S. from Guatemala decades ago. She says she has a newfound appreciation for the struggle her mother went through.

SELMA CAAL: I understand that we need to have secure borders. That - I am in total - in agreement with that. But we have to do it in such a way that it's humane and that respects people's rights.

BANDLAMUDI: The ACLU, along with other march organizers, encouraged attendees to wear white to symbolize unity and solidarity. The ACLU's Faiz Shakir says he feels encouraged to see a sea of white in front of him, even on a hot day.

FAIZ SHAKIR: That demonstrates to you that people are just so moved by their hearts and their minds that no weather, no heat, no dryness is going to stop them from telling you they're upset.

BANDLAMUDI: The Trump administration has said it plans to build tent encampments on military bases to house migrant families together. Construction is set to begin after July 4.

Adhiti Bandlamudi, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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