Protesters Support US Visas for migrants and rally to denounce anti-immigrant Trump

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A group of protesters amassed at the Metropolitan AME Church in Washington on Saturday, January 14 in a show of support for rallies taking place across the US, decrying incoming President Donald Trump for his anti-immigrant rhetoric and his pledges to construct a US-Mexico border wall and introduce a Muslim registry system.

Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump, whose inauguration took place on Friday, January 20, adopted an extreme and controversial anti-immigrant stance, which inflamed tensions with American Muslims and drew criticism from around the world.

His views led to a number of public spats including a row with the Pope and the Khan family - when he mocked Mrs Khan for failing to speak during a speech to honour her slain Muslim son, suggesting she was not allowed to speak because of female subservience expected in some traditional strains of Islam

Senator Chris Van Hollen, the Democratic representative for Maryland, told a packed AME Church – an historic African-American church in downtown Washington – that “we are not going to allow Donald Trump to bury the Statue of Liberty,” during one of dozens of rallies happening around the US.

Sanwar Ali, Editor of News reviews the Trump administration, immigration policy and the so called “Alt Right”

Donald Trump’s administration has been accused of various things.  There is continuing controversy over the “muslim ban” policy.  Judges have prevented key parts of the ban on nationals of certain majority muslim Countries staying in force.

One of Trump’s tweets states the following:

…When a country is no longer able to say who can, and who cannot , come in & out, especially for reasons of safety &.security - big trouble!...

This is highly misleading.  It is unreasonable and misleading to blame refugees from these Countries for terrorist attacks.  Trump has been criticised by many in the media for saying things that are untrue.  Many if not most people do not believe what Trump says any more.

Will Trump have time to make any changes to the US L1 intracompany transfer visa and H1B visa scheme?   The US is a democracy.   He is likely to continue to face legal challenges, delays and opposition from Congress.

Meanwhile yet another high profile Trump supporter is involved in a scandal.  Milo Yiannopoulis a gay half jewish “alt-right” figurehead and until recently a senior editor of Breitbart News resigned over remarks he had made which appeared to support paedophilia.   He appeared to advocate relations between young boys and men.  The extreme right gay “anti-gay” journalist had gone too far. Milo was apparently a sex abuse victim himself.   Even more embarrassing.   Steve Bannon White House Chief Strategist and the former Director of Breitbart News had appointed Milo at Breitbart News.

It looks like the Donald Trump presidency will continue to be filled with controversy and scandal.

Nationwide protests supporting Migrants on US Visas

In Chicago, over 1,000 people gathered at a teachers’ union hall in a show of solidarity for immigrant rights while encouraging each other to fight for those rights against what they fear will be a hostile Trump administration.

Pastor of a Chicago-area Disciples for Christ Church and executive director of the United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations, Ron Taylor told a group of protestors: “Regardless of what happens in the coming days we know that good will conquer evil and we want to say to each and every one of you, you are not alone.”

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, hundreds of people gathered at a downtown Mexican-American cultural center and plaza. Many of the protestors held signs aloft saying ‘Here to Stay’, while chanting “Si se puede” – meaning “Yes, we can” in Spanish.

According to a report published by ABC News, the protests mark the latest chapter in a movement that has continued to gather momentum since 2006, when over three million people took to the streets in protest over a Republican-backed US immigration bill that would have made being in the country illegally a crime.

Events on Saturday, January 14, held at venues in California, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Jose, Washington and numerous other locations took place as thousands participated in a “We Shall Not Be Moved” march in Washington prior to the Martin Luther King Junior Day Holiday on Monday, January 16.

According to eye witnesses, the line at the AME Church in Washington was nearly the length of a city block. Those in attendance included immigrants - who lack the legal status to be in the US – along with their relatives and supporters. A number of elected officials, members of the clergy and representatives of labor and women’s groups were also present.

Those involved in events at AME church carried placards displaying messages such as “Resist Trump’s Hate” and “Tu, Yo, Todos Somos America,” which translates as “You, me, we all are America.”

One demonstrator, 19-year-old Max Kim who arrived in the US from South Korea illegally at the age of six, said: “I stand here because I have nothing to apologize for. I am not ashamed of my status because it is a constant reminder to myself that I have something to fight for.”

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Visa program

Protestors in Washington implored Trump, along with the Republican-controlled Congress, not to scrap the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which assists people like Max Kim who arrived in the United States as children.

Michael Takada, representing the Japanese American Service Committee, stoked the audience in Chicago to ‘disrupt the deportation machine’, which he and many others fear could be stepped up under the new presidential regime.

Takada also told attendees to keep a watchful eye on local law enforcement departments and speak out if they witness those departments helping Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) to deport ‘community members.’

Meanwhile, chair and co-founder of The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, Dr. Bassam Osman provoked one of the loudest cheers from the crowd when he called-out the incoming President by name. When opening in prayer, Osman said: “Lord, this land is your land, it is not Trump’s land.”

However, despite rapturous applause and cheering, there was still a sense of uneasiness and fear of what’s to come following Trump’s inauguration, according to the ABC News report.

31-year-old mother of one, Rehab Alkadi, said: “Me and my son arrived in the United States from Syria four years ago to flee the violence. I don’t believe I can be deported because there is a war in Syria, but who knows. It’s so scary, what Trump says. He said a lot of things bad about the Muslim people.”

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, spokesman for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, Jorge-Mario Cabrera said: “We put the Trump administration on notice that we’re not going to sit idly by while he destroys our community.”

In 2012, outgoing US President, Barack Obama launched an executive effort to safeguard some young people from the threat of deportation following multiple failed proposals in Congress.

The establishment of the DACA program was considered a step in the right direction by supporters who hoped it would be the platform for overhauling US immigration laws. However, this didn’t prove to be the case as Republican-led states resisted Obama’s plans to expand the program.

Now, attention switches to the next Presidential administration. Throughout his election campaign, Trump made promises to his supporters that included decisive action on deportations and the construction of a wall between the border of the US and Mexico, which would be funded by the Mexicans.

However, it’s unclear which promise Trump plans to execute first and when, leaving many immigrants fearful of what’s to come. A number of protest participants said they would keep the pressure on Trump, while others were more reluctant for fear of a backlash.

Cristina Jimenez, executive director of United We Dream and a rally organizer, said: “The threat of deportation is imminent for our communities. We will keep fighting. We're not going back into the shadows.”