Atlantans Protest in Response to ICE Raids on Immigrants
(APN) ATLANTA — On Thursday, February 16, 2017, hundreds rallied at the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) headquarters in downtown Atlanta to send a message to President Donald Trump and his administration that immigrants have a right to remain, will not be silent, and are going to resist every step of the way.
The day was declared “A Day Without Immigrants,” with marches, rallies, and protests across the country against President Trump’s draconian immigration policies.
This was in response to a series of ICE raids in eleven U.S. states, in which over six hundred immigrants have been arrested in only one week; and it is expected to only get worse with more arrests.
Fear and resistance have gripped the immigrant community in Atlanta and other cities.
Some of the states that have experience ICE raids, arrests, and detention are Georgia, California, Arizona, Illinois, Michigan, Kansas, Virginia, New York, South Carolina, North Carolina and Texas.
It is estimated around one hundred arrests in Georgia alone.
“We are here to denounce the raids and detentions of last week that continue to terrorize Georgia’s immigrant communities,” Adelina Nicholls, Executive Director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR), said.
“This past week residents of Moultrie, Americas, Augusta, Savannah, Cordele, Chamblee, Doraville, Buford highway in Atlanta and many other areas report ICE agents performing indiscriminate raids and arrests of our community members,” Nicholls said.
“They say they are looking for criminals, but we know what criminal means to the right wing in power. It means arrests and mass deportation of immigrant communities; slavery and mass incarceration of brown communities; discrimination of refugees and LGBT communities,” Nicholls explained.
President Trump’s executive order allows all undocumented immigrants, not just dangerous criminals, to be categorized as criminals.
The Trump Administration has targeted immigrants to fulfill his campaign promise to his supporters to deport criminals and build a Wall that allegedly Mexico will pay for.
The immigrant community has been traumatized by these ICE raids and some people are now afraid to come out of their homes or drive a car.
They have witnessed family members arrested picking children up from school, on their way to work, in parking lots, or just walking across a street.
“On Tuesday, my Mom got married, and on Wednesday they took her husband away from her. They took him crossing the street on Buford highway. This is unfair. They are tearing families apart and we are not going to stop until they stop,” Evelen Rodriquez shared her family’s loss at the rally.
Rev. Tim McDonald, pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church, offered his church on Moreland and Glenwood as a sanctuary for immigrants and others fleeing persecution.
The City of Atlanta has not declared itself as a sanctuary city, even though last month hundreds, from the J20 Coalition, marched to Atlanta City Hall to demand that Mayor Kasim Reed declare Atlanta a Sanctuary City.
“Project South is part of the J20 coalition and we have 16 demands and one of those demands is to create a sanctuary city in Atlanta that is inclusive of immigrants, Black people, transgender community and all of our people who find themselves oppressed,” Emery Wright, Co-Director, Project South, said.
Other areas offered for sanctuary are the offices at Project South, Georgia Citizens Coalition on Hunger, and Mutual Aid Liberation Center at 9 Gammon.