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Photo Essay: The March For Immigration Rights

By News, Photo, Photo Essay

On July 13th, over four thousand people gathered at Chicago’s Daley Plaza to protest the ongoing criminalization of immigrants and refugees seeking a better, safer life in the U.S.A. Activists called for an overall boycott from any businesses associated with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This past week, ICE raids were expected nationally.

  • In 90 degree weather, activists brought banners and shouted chants as they waited for the presenting speakers to begin, voicing their outrage over the abusive treatment and incarceration of asylum seekers.
  • Many groups worked together to organize this demonstration, including the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois, and Indivisible Chicago.
  • Pedro, an asylum-seeker, recounted the story of his and his family’s traumatic experience when coming to the USA. Fleeing threats from the cartels after his father and uncle were killed in front of him, Pedro, his wife, brother, mother, and two-year-old child traveled to the border hoping to be granted asylum. They were then individually split up and sent to different facilities. His wife and child were released four days after their arrival, wearing an ankle . His mother was detained for one month, his brother for three in Miami, and Pedro himself was held in a prison in Iowa for a little over five months.
  • Illinois Congressman Chuy García called for unity among local communities and ensured that under this presidential administration, “All of our rights are under attack.” He called on Chicagoans to help their neighbors in the ways they can and reminded protestors that “Now is not the time to cower.... Now is the time to stand our ground.
  • Speakers at the rally included a rabbi who started the event in prayer, an ardent eleven-year-old who called on the crowd to remember that the children being separated from their families deserve better, a youth organizer, and Lieutenant Governor, Juliana Stratton. One of the hosts of the event stated, “these policies are not new but we are here to demand [lawmakers] that they stop!”
  • Tanko, a survivor of the Japanese concentration camps during World War II, urged demonstrators to remember the horrors of the Japanese internment camps in the United States, and how that history is being repeated now. She referred to the internment camps in the 1940’s and the modern-day detention facilities as concentration camps.
  • Once the speakers finished, protesters marched from the Daley Plaza to the Chicago ICE headquarters on Clark Street and Ida B. Wells Drive. Police delayed the marchers for about ten minutes, blocking their path only three blocks from their destination.
  • Speakers outlined three things that must happen to begin the recovery process for those affected by the immigration crisis. 1, congress lawmakers must stop the abusive and destructive policies embraced by the Trump administration. 2, local police must stop all forms of cooperation with ICE. And 3, citizens of the United States must welcome immigrants and treat them with respect.

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