Across Ventura County, Ralliers Protest Immigration Policies

From morning through evening Saturday, local residents gathered at five Families Belong Together rallies across Ventura County as hundreds of similar events took place across the country.

Signs, chants and cheers energized those who turned out to protest immigration policy that has separated an estimated 2,000 children from their parents after they crossed the U.S.-Mexico border without legal permission.

Some at the Ventura County rallies were immigrants or children of immigrants. Some were grandparents, military veterans, students or citizens impassioned to take a stand. Events in Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, Ojai, Ventura and Camarillo brought them out starting at 10 a.m. and kept some going past 6:30 p.m.

Hundreds of protesters dressed in white gathered at The Collection in Oxnard starting at 10 a.m. and marched to the Oxnard Boulevard overpass of Highway 101.

“I felt bad for the kids when I saw them on TV,” said Rosa Sanchez, of Oxnard. “It looked like they were in cages with blankets that looked like foil. I don’t think this is what the US is about.”

Jade Smith, of Ojai, said children need their mothers.

“What is happening now is not right,” said Smith, who planned to attend other rallies later in the day. “We are a country of immigrants. We come together. We fight injustice.”

Some motorists passing through the area honked their support. Elected officials including including state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblywoman Monique Limón, both Democrats from Santa Barbara, addressed the crowd before the march.

At 2 p.m., a larger crowd gathered in Ventura at Telephone Road and Victoria Avenue, near the Ventura County Government Center. Organizers estimated about 750 people were on hand at the rally’s peak.

Attendees were stretched along sidewalks at all four corners of the intersection, with the crowd five deep in some spots. Many drivers honked as they drove past, with ralliers waving and cheering back. Several big rigs blasted air horns, eliciting loud applause and cheers.

By Gretchen Wenner for VC STAR
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