Families Belong Together and Free march brings unity

More stories from Juan Corral


Hundreds protest in Downtown El Paso Saturday, June 30.

The Families Belong Together and Free march was held Saturday morning, June 30, in downtown El Paso starting at Cleveland Square and ending at the Paso del Norte International Bridge to advocate for immigrant children that have been kept at detention centers across the country.

Various citizens from both El Paso and Cd. Juarez took part in the march, contributing to hundreds of people participating, with many having strong opinions on the matter at hand.

Fabiola Ekleberry, a trauma therapist and president of Professional Counselors of El Paso, said, “I’m against what they’re doing. They’re traumatizing these children, let alone the mental health issues that are traumatizing these families, these families need to start healing. We need to give them a sense of safety, this is not the way to do it.”

Counselors, therapists, students, organizers and citizens all stood together protesting for safety and unity for the children and their families that were separated.

“They have children in political cages and I think we need to be very critical of anybody who says they are our ally and has not come out and publicly supported the abolishment of ICE and the CBP,” said Claudia Yoli, who is a political organizer. “These are agencies that are dehumanizing, traumatizing, terrorizing our communities every day and enough is enough.”

UTEP student, Leslie Trevizo, whose family is made up of immigrants, held this march close to her heart and carried this “close to home.”

“My family has been able to work out their documents, but it’s a very costly thing,” said Trevizo. “My family was lucky enough to have the resources, but I could only imagine the thousands of people that weren’t able to do that and I don’t think that’s fair.”

El Paso and Tornillo have been at the epicenter of the recent immigration issues. The first tent city was erected in Tornillo, Texas, last month causing activists, political leaders and press from all over the nation to visit the border.

According to officials with the Department of Health and Human Services, the tent city in Tornillo will shut down on July 13. Recently, the Pentagon said in a statement that the Department of Defense will start building tents to house 12,000 migrant families at two military bases. A U.S. official confirmed that Fort Bliss is one of those sites.

The march has been one of several held over the last two weeks in El Paso and Tornillo. As of now, there are no more marches planned in the near future.