Hundreds in Iowa City march in nationwide 'Families Belong Together' event
In hundreds of cities across the country, families marched to demand a change in immigration laws.
Saturday's organized protests, called 'Families Belong Together' come as hundreds of families and children remain separated under President Trump's "zero tolerance" policy.
More than 600 protestors in Iowa City took part in the event. They said the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy towards immigration needs to end and said President Trump's decision to stop separating children from their families is not being handled quickly or with compassion.
"I will fight till my dying breath for the rights of immigrants who are trying to come here," said march co-organizer Helene Lubaroff.
"It breaks my heart honestly, because of all the footage that keeps coming out of just the children, said Sudanese immigrant Raneem Hamad. "It's a violation of human rights."
*Anna, who asked to be given a new name to protect her identity, is fighting for immigrants like her, who endured hardship for a better life in the U.S. She said she survived poverty and violence in Mexico, and she crossed the border 20 years ago as an undocumented immigrant.
She said she was scared she would be detained by ICE agents for not having papers then.
In 2006, that nightmare came true, when she was caught and detained in an immigration raid in Marshalltown.
She said the thought of thousands of immigrant children still separated from their parents now is a reminder of the pain she endured in the days she was detained that she could not see hers.
"We need to tell Trump that we won't allow it, and that you know, anybody else following along to support him with it...that we will vote them out," said march co-organizer Amy Rieckens.
Hamad, a Sudanese immigrant who came to the United States at eight-years-old, said she is standing up for immigrant families of all backgrounds, and to bring an end to the travel ban and border wall construction.
"My parents applied to come to the United States through the lottery system, and it took them five times of applying, they had to apply five times before we got accepted," said Hamad.
Though not undocumented, she is fighting to change a system she said has made it harder for other refugees to gain legal entry.
"I've just grown up with all the issues they've had to deal with, with being refugees in the United States," said Hamad.
"There needs to be set procedures in place, but it needs to be handled with kindness and compassion," said Lubaroff.
March organizers hope that their collective show of kindness in protest translate to immigration policy where families do not end up behind bars.
For Anna, she said she hopes for legislation that take away the pressure and worry of living as an undocumented immigrant in the U.S.
Local organizations with the march celebrated a step forward for some of the immigrants who were detained in the Mount Pleasant immigrant raid in May. 23 of the 32 immigrants detained have since been released on bond and reunited with their families.