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Sunday, January 15, 2017
March for ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT Rights?
Activists say Saturday’s protests kick off new phase of activism in defiance of Donald Trump’s pledge to crack down on illegal immigration
And you may wonder why many of the countries these people come from can never get it together...tmiraldi
LOS ANGELES—Immigrants and their supporters held rallies in 50 cities across the country Saturday in the first large-scale mobilization of immigrant-rights forces since the election of Donald Trump.
Organizers representing civil-rights, faith-based and immigrant groups said they had mobilized thousands of people from New York and Miami to Los Angeles and Phoenix.
They said Saturday’s “Day of Action” had kicked off a new phase of activism in defiance of Mr. Trump’s incendiary rhetoric against Mexicans during his campaign and his pledge to crack down on illegal immigration.
“We are prepared to defend our dreams and our families, whatever comes,” said Ricardo Zamudio, an organizer at Neighborhood Ministries, a faith-based organization in Phoenix that has joined other groups for a rally in central Phoenix. “There is a lot at stake here.”
Supporters of immigrant groups marched in Albuquerque, N.M., on Saturday.PHOTO: JIM THOMPSON/ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL VIA ZUMA WIRE
Activists called on city mayors and local officials to protect immigrant communities, namely by adopting sanctuary policies. Several cities already have pledged to shield immigrants from federal immigration authorities.
Following Mr. Trump’s election, “there is a deep sense of fear and worry in immigrant communities, “said Cristina Jiménez, executive director of United We Dream, a national organization. “At the same time, there is no way we will go back to living in the shadows,” she said.
There were gatherings in churches and other venues, as well as marches and vigils outside.
Hundreds of activists and political leaders on Saturday morning packed into the Chicago Teachers Union headquarters in a gritty industrial area of the city to support immigration rights.
Bearing signs saying “Resistance, Unity and Respect,” they listened to speeches, spoken-word poetry and blessings in English and Spanish. The rally was sponsored by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
“In six days, we are going to have a president who is deporting millions,” said Evelyn Solis, an 18-year-old studying social work at Loyola University. “As a Latina woman, I’m afraid for my safety. With the organization being united we are going to create a safe zone for all people.”
Amani Abbasi, who works with refugees at the state-supported Illinois Welcome Center, said this is a moment of great worry for her and her clients, many of whom arrive in the U.S. without being able to speak English. “All of our clients are concerned. A lot of things are falling through the cracks for them,” she said.
In Los Angeles, hundreds of people flocked in the morning to a downtown area, home to a historic church and monuments, considered the birthplace of the city.
Immigrant-rights advocates demonstrate against President-elect Donald Trump during a rally at Metropolitan AME Church in Washington on Saturday.PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Among those at the rally was Araceli Montano, a 52-year-old undocumented immigrant who came to the U.S. 19 years ago and has an American son.
“I came out to support the immigrant community because we contribute to this country,” said the Mexican immigrant who works in construction.
Saturday’s coordinated rallies signal a new chapter in the immigrant-rights movement that was born in 2006. That year, more than one million people took to the streets to protest a bill that would have criminalized assistance to undocumented immigrants.
The bill proposed by U.S. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R, Wis.) didn't pass the Senate. But Congress also failed to reach a compromise to overhaul the nation’s immigration system and address the fate of 11 million people living in the country unlawfully.
Newly empowered young undocumented immigrants used sit-ins, hunger strikes and lobbying to press President Barack Obama to take executive action to bring relief to those brought to the country illegally as children, known as Dreamers.
In response to their demands, Mr. Obama in 2012 launched DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which gives those who qualify for the program a reprieve from deportation and work permits, renewable every two years. Currently, 750,000 undocumented youngsters have DACA.
During his campaign, Mr. Trump vowed to eliminate any programs created through executive action, and his 10-point immigration plan, posted online, states the same.
But since his election, the president-elect has tempered his tone, saying he might consider other options for DACA beneficiaries.
Activists said that Saturday they were rallying for Mr. Trump to preserve DACA.
High-school senior Vanessa Quevedo, who arrived in the U.S. from Mexico when she was six years old, is among DACA beneficiaries sharing her personal journey during events in Denver.
“America is my home despite the fact that some people don’t see it as my home,” said Ms. Quevedo, who recently gained admission to Williams College in Massachusetts, where she plans to enroll next fall.