January 25, 2017

Immigrants, supporters vow to fight Trump’s immigration order

Matthew Reichbach/NM Political Report

Rachel LaZar speaks about opposing President Donald Trump's immigration executive order

Dozens of people who oppose Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees gathered in Albuquerque Wednesday afternoon, standing behind a coalition of speakers who said they were ready to fight against Trump’s efforts.

Some held signs, saying “We’re Not Going Anywhere” and “Mayor Berry: Reject Trump’s Immigration Machine #heretostay.”

Signed Wednesday, Trump’s order makes official the administration’s plans  to increase deportations, punish sanctuary cities by ending federal grant funding and build a new border wall between the United States and Mexico.

At the press conference, El CENTRO de Igualdad y Derechos executive Rachel LaZar said those who oppose Trump will fight back.

“We will organize locally to pass and strengthen local immigrant friendly policies,” LaZar said. “We will use strategic litigation to fight back and we will ramp up some of our organizing efforts to fight back against Trump’s deportation machine and agenda of hate.”

ACLU of New Mexico executive director Peter Simonson echoed LaZar.

“We anticipate being active on the ground in protesting, in opposing, even in court, threats to sanctuary cities in our state, mass deportation forces, efforts to profile people on the basis of race, efforts to conscript local law enforcement in enforcing immigration law,” Simonson said. “We anticipate seeing Mr. Trump and his agencies in court, we are ready to do that. We are eager for the fight.”

One El CENTRO member, Jessica Rodriguez spoke, aided by a translator, and also vowed to fight in her own way.

“As a state, we rejected Trump in the elections,” Rodriguez said through her translator. “We successfully rejected Susana Martinez’s anti-immigrant platform. We rejected Mayor Berry’s anti-immigrant platform. We’ll continue to build the legacy of fighting for laws that integrate immigrants in the mainstream. Our resistance will continue.”

Abbas Akhil, president of the Islamic Center of New Mexico also criticized Trump’s actions.

“Today’s executive orders and those promised to come are based off of discrimination and xenophobia,” Akhil said, vowing to aid “all of those who are oppressed.”

New Mexico Asian Family Center Kay Bounkeua urged people to remember the past, noting that New Mexico was home to two Japanese internment camps during World War II.

“We cannot repeat our mistakes. We will not stand for anything that resembles a forced registry nor will we tolerate any unnecessary law enforcement or show of force at the detriment of our children and families,” Bounkeua said. “Today I ask all of us to come together again as we did in the past to fight and to resist.”