Hundreds of North Carolinians — including native-born and immigrant Americans as well as undocumented — gathered in Bicentennial Plaza in Raleigh Wednesday afternoon in protest of the Trump Administration’s policy directing families to be separated at the border. A policy that has also led to the caging of migrant children.
Although President Trump signed an executive order temporarily ending the separation of families just hours before the rally’s start, the protest continued as planned. It was not lost on those in the crowd that the president could have pushed through such a measure much earlier, and there remains still much to change.
Carolina Peace Center Founder and Executive Director Faisal Khan stated, “We as a people have a duty. It’s incumbent upon us as citizens of the United States to stand up and speak out and keep calling our legislators, keep writing them, keep visiting them, and keep reinforcing it.”
IN THE NEWS: Raleigh events protest Trump’s immigration stance
In his remarks, Khan also noted the importance of the upcoming elections, reinforcing a message many carried at the rally: REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER.
Many of the hundreds who attended the event expressed concern with Trump’s temporary fix. Lourdes Arenas, a local immigration attorney, expressed gratitude for the executive order but concern over the existing law. “Every individual who arrives at the border undocumented will be charged and they still have to go through the whole process of hopefully finding an attorney that will represent them.”
Among the speakers was 12-year-old Urial Rodriguez. His mother immigrated to the United States with her elderly father and young daughter while she was pregnant with Urial. He spoke to the crowd first in English, saying it is “impossible not to cry” when he remembers the story of his mother’s journey to this country, “and more so that my sister could have been torn from my mother.” He said that to immigrate to the United States is to leave one nightmare for another.
He then spoke to the Hispanic immigrant community in Spanish. The young, aspiring politician said to them, “we that live with the reality of being immigrants and undocumented know the pain and fear of living with the possibility of being separated from our families. You did not leave your countries to be singled out. You migrated in search of a better life and to live your dream. Let’s make that dream a reality.”
Since Wednesday, news stories have continued to document atrocities happening to children and other migrants at the US-Mexico border. Carolina Peace Center will continue to organize opposition to these barbaric policies. Stay tuned for our next call to action!