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PHOTOS: Louisville Community Rallies To Say 'Families Belong Together'

Hundreds demonstrated against the Trump Administration’s immigration policies at the steps of Louisville Metro Hall on Saturday.

The “Families Belong Together” rally was one of more than 700 events held across the country.

Demonstrators wore white and advocated to end President Donald Trump’s family separation and zero-tolerance policies.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer was among more than a dozen speakers advocating for reform.

“Too many people in Washington think that to keep our country safe we have to choose between compassion and strength," Fischer said. "But there is no choosing between compassion and strength because compassion is strength.”

Below the podium, on the steps of Metro Hall, two demonstrators held a large banner reading "#ABOLISHICE."

Others held signs saying "Immigrants & Refugees Welcome," "kids like me don't belong in cages" and "Fight for what is right."

At least two people in the crowd wore silver emergency blankets similar to those given to migrants inside detention facilities.

"They gave all those kids in the cages Mylar blankets," said Adrian Centers, "We throw them in cages and 'Oh look, we're going to give you a nice blanket so you can stay warm.'"

The Trump Administration is currently working to reunite families separated after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a zero-tolerance policy toward immigrants who cross the U.S. border illegally.

On Friday, Justice Department attorneys said the administration plans to detain migrant families together while awaiting immigration proceedings, according to records obtained by the Washington Post.

It's unclear if that means immigration official will detain families longer than 20 days, a limit imposed under Flores v. Lynch.  However, immigration proceedings can take months, or even years.

In the meantime, immigration officials have up to 30 days to reunite migrant children with their parents after a federal judge in San Diego issued a preliminary injunction on Tuesday.

The separation of migrant children from their parents motivated rallies like the one in Louisville. Other rallies were scheduled Saturday for Bowling Green, Madisonville, Morehead and Pikeville.

Louisville event organizers included the advocacy group Indivisible Kentucky, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Douglass Boulevard Christian Church.

Louisvillian Karina Barillas emceed the rally.

"Right now we need to be together because together we are stronger," Barillas said. "Let us all rise and leave no one behind."

Ryan Van Velzer is the Kentucky Public Radio Managing Editor. Email Ryan at rvanvelzer@lpm.org.

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