Protesters have gathered to support immigrant rights at rallies around the US, denouncing President-elect Donald Trump for his anti-immigrant rhetoric and his pledges to build a wall on the US-Mexican border and to crack down on Muslims entering the country. “We are not going to allow Donald Trump to bury the Statue of Liberty,” Sen Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, told a standing-room-only crowd at historic African-American church in downtown Washington during one of dozens of rallies around the nation yesterday. “We are a nation for all people, regardless of religion, regardless of background, regardless of who you love.”
In Chicago, more than 1,000 people poured into a teachers’ union hall to support immigrant rights and implore one another to fight for those rights against what they fear will be a hostile Trump administration. Ron Taylor, pastor of a Chicago area Disciples for Christ Church and executive director of the United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations, told the audience there, “Regardless of what happens in the coming days we know that good will conquer evil and we want to say to each and every one of you, you are not alone.”
The protests mark the latest chapter in a movement that has evolved since 2006, when more than a million people took to the streets to protest a Republican-backed immigration bill that would have made it a crime to be in the country illegally.
The crowds this weekend at rallies or cultural events in Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Jose, California, and elsewhere, are expected to be nowhere near as big as then. Yesterday’s events took place as thousands were expected at a “We Shall Not Be Moved” march and rally in Washington ahead of Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr Day holiday.
Yet the line to enter Metropolitan AME Church in Washington stretched nearly a city block. People attending included immigrants who lack permission to be in the country and their relatives and supporters. Also present were elected officials, clergy and representatives of labor and women’s groups. Participants carried signs with messages including “Resist Trump’s Hate” and “Tu, Yo, Todos Somos America,” which translates to “You, me, we all are America.”
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“I stand here because I have nothing to apologize for. I am not ashamed of my status because it is a constant reminder to myself that I have something to fight for,” said Max Kim, 19, who was brought to the US from South Korea when he was 6 and lacks legal permission to stay in the country. The Washington crowd urged Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress not to undo the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, aimed at helping people like Kim who were brought to the country as children.