50,000 rally in Chicago in support of immigrant families

CHICAGO (Fox 32 News) - About 50,000 people came to downtown Chicago on one of the hottest days of the year to show their support for immigrant parents and children.

Nationwide, hundreds of rallies were held to reinforce the message that "Families Belong Together." The participants are angry that the Trump administration has separated more than 2,300 children from their parents at the border with Mexico since early April. The children are being held all over the country, in refurbished warehouse stores and in foster homes, while their parents await court proceedings.

The influx of immigrant children into U.S. custody has escalated since the Trump administration started enforcing what the president calls a "zero tolerance policy" of charging border crossers with crimes. Border crossing was previously treated as a misdemeanor on the first offense.

"Mr. Trump, not only will we fight until every child and family is together, but Mr. Trump, understand we are coming together," said Rev. Michael Pfleger during the rally in Chicago.

Supporters said it was worth braving the heat to show immigrants that not everyone shares the administration's same anti-immigrant fervor.

"We have all been blessed enough to be here," said Valerie Barajas. "They deserve that opportunity. We need to speak up for them."

"What we need to do, as Americans, is stand up and say, 'This is not right,'" said Mark Blotter.

The crowd estimate of 50,000 was provided by Chicago Police.