Vice President Pence’s visit Tuesday evening to Philadelphia, where he participated in a fundraiser with the Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial nominee, led to protests in Rittenhouse Square over the Trump administration’s policy of separating undocumented minors from their parents upon their entry to the U.S.
The fundraiser for the Republican Governors Association — featuring Pence and Scott Wagner, the Republican nominee for Pennsylvania governor — was held at the Rittenhouse Hotel. The fundraiser was closed to the news media.
More than 1,500 people said on Facebook they had planned to attend the protest, which groups such as Refuse Fascism Philly and Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates organized. The Facebook event is titled: “Pence in PHL: Stop Separating Families! Trump/Pence Must Go!”
“In the name of humanity, no more tearing immigrant children from their parents and keeping children in hellish detention camps,” the organizers wrote.
Activists called on people to bring pairs of children’s shoes – to be set down and organized as a silent protest against the separation of families at the nation’s Southwest border.
“Any way they can be donated afterwards?” one woman asked on Facebook. “I don’t want them to be left on the street and then tossed.”
The use of children’s imagery has become a main component of the demonstrations against the administration’s policy of taking children from migrant parents. Earlier this month in Philadelphia, protesters left a row of children’s toys – stuffed bears, baby rattles and soap bubbles – outside the Center City offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to symbolize children who were missing from their families.
Despite an uproar across the political spectrum over the administration’s separation policy, President Trump has refused to back down.
Democrats are the problem. They don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13. They can’t win on their terrible policies, so they view them as potential voters!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 19, 2018
Councilwoman Helen Gym wrote on Twitter Monday that she’ll be protesting. “There is no other place to be,” she wrote.
Tomorrow 6/19 at 5 p.m. Rittenhouse Hotel. There is no other place to be. https://t.co/5CYyCCw9Tb
— Helen Gym (@HelenGym2015) June 18, 2018
Trump came to Philadelphia in January 2017 for his first trip outside Washington since taking office, attending a GOP strategy retreat at the Loews hotel in Center City. Protesters clogged the streets during Trump’s two-hour visit.
Wagner, a former state senator, is running against Gov. Wolf, a Democrat seeking a second term.
Republican donors are being asked for up to $50,000 at tonight’s fundraiser, a GOP source told the Inquirer and Daily News last week.
Staff writer Michael Boren contributed to this article.