Sarah Jesmer

Protests nationwide this past weekend drew attention to immigrant rights and showed support for families separated from their children at the southern border. The city of Rockford hosted one of these demonstrations.

Nearly one thousand people marched in high temperatures Saturday morning. Participants drew attention to a number of issues, including children in detention centers and voter registration, but some also shared their own stories of immigration.

Lorie Shaull

Demonstrations are planned across the country Saturday. They’re meant to show solidarity and support for families and children affected by recent immigration policy at the southern border. 

The stories of families who have been separated during their immigration journey hit especially close to the heart of Elgin resident Jose Alfonso Villalobos.

“When I was young, back in the 80’s, my mother was taken by immigration from us in the middle of the day,” Villalobos said.

Villalobos says his mother was sent alone back across the southern border.

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

As news has centered on the plight of hundreds of families who have been separated while trying to enter the US through Mexico, concern has been raised over the ultimate destiny of about 1,500 children being held in detention centers and shelters. There are at least 66 of those children in Chicago, according to Heartland Alliance, a non-profit with nine shelters for unaccompanied minors there.

provided by Sara Dorner

People across the nation plan to take to the streets June 30 to protest recent immigration policies that separate families crossing the southwest border of the United States. That includes marches in at least five Illinois cities.

Rockford activist Sara Dorner says she was so angry that children were being separated from their parents at the U.S. border that she contacted the White House, her senators, her representative -- and it still wasn’t enough.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

Immigrants' rights advocates are close to celebrating what they consider a win in Illinois, especially for domestic abuse survivors. They are hoping Gov. Bruce Rauner will sign 'The Voices Act' soon, as it passed out of the state's General Assembly during the final days of the spring legislative session.