Suffolk County prosecutors dropped trespassing charges against 18 people arrested during an immigration demonstration that began at the New England Holocaust Memorial Tuesday.
Hundreds of people showed up to protest the treatment of migrants at the U.S. border. Demonstrators walked nearly two miles from the Holocaust Memorial to the South Bay House of Corrections, where some Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees are held.
The marchers halted traffic as they called for closure of migrant camps at the country's southern border. Democratic lawmakers visiting the camps in recent weeks have described them as squalid and inhumane.
Protesters held signs that read "Never Again Means Now," and chanted in Spanish and Yiddish.
Emilia Feldman is Latina and Jewish and told WBUR she has family members who survived the Holocaust and family members who didn't. And now she said she has family who live in fear of the immigration ideology carried out by the Trump administration. For her, the march was empowering.
"It's incredible seeing my two communities, my two identities come together and when we're together and when we're together we have so much power for change," she said.
Feldman said she doesn't know if conditions of migrants will change under this president, but her hope is that those detained at the border are treated with dignity.
There were a few counter-protesters along the route. One was Debbie White of Boston.
"We don't have room," she said. "We can't have the whole world come to this country. Us [Americans] can't get housing, us people are having a hard time surviving as it is."
But when told the demonstration's focus was on the treatment of migrants at the the border, White said, "Well, that is a little mean. But they [migrants] won't listen."
A spokeswoman from the Suffolk County district attorney's office said when the 18 arrested appeared in Roxbury Municipal Court Wednesday, the charges were dropped against them.
A spokeswoman for Rollins says similar offenses arising from protests were "routinely" converted to civil infractions under prior administrations.
Trespassing is one of 15 charges DA Rachael Rollins says should not be prosecuted without the permission of a supervisor.
Suffolk County sheriff's office, whose offices arrested the protesters at the jail, did not return calls seeking comment.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
This article was originally published on July 03, 2019.