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Scene Report: ‘Families Belong Together’ Rally ~ July 21 ~ MacArthur Park

[dropcap size=big]K[/dropcap]arla Estrada stood on the back of a flatbed truck on a hot Saturday afternoon. She looked out before her at a crowd of energized immigration advocates at MacArthur Park and started her speech with a joke.

“On a scale, how hot are you?” Estrada, an activist and DACA recipient, asked and paused for a beat. “Are you hot enough to melt ICE?”

The most recent Families Belong Together rally in Los Angeles is one of many public reactions to the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy that has criminalized asylum seekers and separated thousands of parents from their children at the U.S.-Mexico border. Many protests have called for the abolishing of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

Estrada, 27, arrived in the United States when she was five years old from Mexico. She remembers little of the trip, save that she had a fractured ankle. Her younger brother left the United States under a voluntary departure in April 2017 and a few months later her parents joined him, leaving Estrada alone in Los Angeles.

“I always say I am alone here because I don’t have my nuclear family,” Estrada said.

She added that others try to comfort her by saying she isn’t alone. She also noted that friends and strangers are here to support undocumented youths and DACA recipients like her.

“Are you going to be here when ICE takes me away?” Estrada asked the crowd, which responded with cheers.

All photos by Nathan Solis.

RELATED: Friday Surprise: Protesters Target the Offices of Private Prison Giant GEO Group in West Los Angeles

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