Today I attended a rally in downtown Atlanta hosted by the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) in response to recent raids targeting immigrant communities across the United States. Individuals and families, primarily from Spanish-speaking communities, gathered in front of the Atlanta ICE Field Office this morning. Protesters carried signs displaying messages such as "not one more deportation" and "community power," and asked questions such as who will work our jobs once we've been deported?
Event leaders rallied the demonstrators through chants and personal anecdotes. Participants shared stories of loved ones who faced deportation and families torn apart. This morning's rally acted as a reminder for members of these communities to remain vigilant and remember their rights in case of contact with immigration officers.
Recent ICE raids in Georgia along with California, Virginia, North Carolina, Kansas, New York and Texas seemed to target immigrant citizens more indiscriminately than in the past. As NPR correspondent John Burnett said, "it appears that under President Trump's executive order ICE is defining criminal alien much more broadly for lower-level offenses than Obama's ICE did. They're not just picking up immigrants convicted of serious crimes anymore as before."
But even in a time of great fear for immigrants and undocumented citizens living in the United States, speakers at today's GLAHR rally shared messages of hope. "We won't stop until they stop."
José Hernandez, 28, a construction worker, was born in Mexico but has lived in the United States for 25 years. Hernandez attended today's rally because of personal convictions: "I've got to stand up for what I believe. Life's a risk. Everything's a risk."