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'We Seek Protection': Dozens Protest Trump's Executive Actions on Immigration

On Facebook, the public event called for quick action. 

Organizers of the “Emergency Rally in Miami Against Trump Muslim Ban” gave people a two-day notice to attend. 

The rally brought together dozens of demonstrators Thursday night to stand in solidarity with Muslim and immigrant communities at the Torch of Friendship monument along Biscayne Boulevard in Miami.  

The event was created Wednesday, Jan. 25, after President Donald Trump announced his executive orders will step up deportations, block refugees, withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities and begin the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico. 

"Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control of its borders,” Trump said. “We're going to once again prioritize the prosecution and deportation of illegal immigrants who have also otherwise violated our laws.” 

In response, community organizers in South Florida expressed their concerns over Trump’s latest orders. 

Wilfredo A. Ruiz, a spokesperson at the Council on American-Islamic Relations Florida, told the crowd of the latest spike he has seen in hate crimes. He said the nonprofit civil rights organization’s legal department has had thousands of phone calls over the past year. 

Trump’s orders target immigrant communities for a non-existent problem and aim at creating “a more divisive America [and] are contrary to the wellbeing of an American fabric,” Ruiz said. 

On the same day, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez ordered jails to comply with federal immigration detention requests, telling the Miami Herald he made a financial decision. 

“I want to make sure we don’t put in jeopardy the millions of funds we get from the federal government for a $52,000 issue,” he told The Miami Herald, referencing the money it would cost to hold about 100 inmates on Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement charges. “It doesn’t mean that we’re going to be arresting more people. It doesn’t mean that we’re going to be enforcing any immigration laws.”

In a previous interview with WLRN, the mayor said he is for what he calls “comprehensive immigration reform.” He said he is willing to have conversations about better ways to enact on deportations, without splitting apart families, but still corresponding to federal laws. 

Pam Keith, who ran for U.S. Senate in the Democratic primary in 2016, was at the rally on Thursday. She said it’s time for Miami to step up and stand with the people who make up the city. 

Gimenez “has all the cover he needs, because we will stand with our immigrant population. Miami wouldn’t be Miami without immigrants. Period,” Keith said. “If Mayor Gimenez is struggling to figure that out, trust and believe that the people of Miami will clarify it for him.” 

For rally attendee and Muslim-American Sanaa Alhagri, Trump’s orders were personal. She came with her husband and 6-year-old son. 

“It’s not right to ban people based on their religion, the Constitution is very clear about that, but we have to stand up and do something and say something about it,” Alhagri said. “I want to make sure that we are very clear on the fact that we want what’s right for us, and that we seek protection, because we want to live in the country and feel safe and feel welcomed.” 


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