A group called Grannies Respond, or Abuelas Responden, kicked off a 2,000-mile journey from New York City to McAllen, Texas on Tuesday to protest President Donald Trump’s policy under which immigration officials separated thousands of migrant children from their parents in a cruel effort to deter asylum-seekers.

“The cruel and inhumane way that immigrant children and their families are being treated is wrong and immoral.”
—Roya Salehi, Grannies Respond

“Grandparents often teach their children and grandkids morality and give them a sense of right and wrong. The cruel and inhumane way that immigrant children and their families are being treated is wrong and immoral,” Grannies Respond co-founder Roya Salehi said in a statement.

“Children do not belong in cages and internment camps. These practices can cause irreparable harm to children. We have a moral obligation to act,” Salehi added. “We are riding to the border with a simple message: reunite families, end family detention, and treat all human beings with respect and dignity.”

“I think it’s a powerful way to express the idea that, even frail old people who are in many ways discounted…in this society can do something,” Ann Schaetzel, a member of the caravan, told The Independent. “Basically, if frail, old people can take a stand, anybody can do it. I hope that people will join us.”

Rachna Daryanani, another participant, spoke with AJ+ ahead of the departure on Tuesday:

While the initial caravan departed from New York and features six stops along the way, several others have been established throughout the country, with all participants planning to meet up in Texas next week for 24 hours of action, which will include rallies, vigils, and volunteering with local organizations.

Grannies have already stopped in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to protest at the state’s capitol, as well as in Reading, to demonstrate outside an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center.

Although a federal judge in June ordered the administration to reunite all separated families by last Thursday, officials failed to meet that deadline. CNN reported Sunday that more than 700 migrant children remain separated from their parents.

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