Billings rally protests U.S. immigration policy

Posted at 6:40 PM, Jun 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-30 20:40:49-04

The Families Belong Together immigration rally was a call to re-unify families that have been separated at the border.

About 450 people came to the rally at the Yellowstone County Courthouse lawn in Billings.

The rally was organized in about one week to protest U.S. immigration policy.

"Just want to ask people to remember the values of our country,” said State Rep. Jessica Karjala, D-Mont, and the organizer of the rally. “Remember that we value children. We value good parenting. This is good parenting. We value the unity of the family."

On June 20, President Trump signed an order titled "Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation."

"Under our laws, the only legal way for an alien to enter this country is at a designated port of entry at an appropriate time," the President stated in the order. "When an alien enters or attempts to enter the country anywhere else, that alien has committed at least the crime of improper entry and is subject to a fine or imprisonment under section 1325(a) of title 8, United States Code."

Karjala said some are in danger in their home countries and those trying to enter the country through a port of entry have not been granted asylum.

The order also included a “temporary detention policy for families entering this country illegally.

Speakers from Bozeman, Livingston and Lame Deer addressed the crowd.

"It’s pretty simple and just, it requires families to be kept together and one would think something like that could garner bi-partisan support,” said Kathleen Williams, a Democrat candidate for U.S. House and the keynote speaker at the rally. “We just need to work together to protect each other and I’m looking forward to representing all of Montana and working on these thorny issues that really need solutions rather than hyper partisanship."

Those at the rally said the President dropped a zero-tolerance policy, but more needs to be done.

"I think that the administration took the right step by retracting zero tolerance policy,” Karjala said. “But it doesn’t seem to be having the effect that it was supposed to, which was to stop the separating the families and then to reunify these families so next steps would be that Congress would have to legislate."

In the order, the President stated the only legal way to enter the country is through a Port of Entry.

And the administration will rigorously enforce immigration laws.