A coalition of organizations is calling communities and “people of conscience” around the country to join rallies, marches and vigils that will take place in more than 45 cities nationwide, including Houston and other Texas towns, for an Immigrants National Day of Action on January 14.
The National Day of Action is set to happen a week before President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20 with the purpose of building “momentum to prevent deportations and create defense networks in cities, schools, churches and states,” according to the organizers.
Lead by United We Dream, an organization of young immigrants who came to the United States without immigration documents as children, the actions aim to send a message against mass deportation plans announced by Trump during his presidential campaign.
“Immigrant families and young children will be impacted by the election of Donald Trump. He promises to go after and separate families like my own,” said Cristina Jimenez, executive director of United We Dream. Jimenez was brought to the U.S. from Ecuador when she was 13 years old.
Jimenez said in a conference call that “hatred and bullying against immigrant families have increased in record numbers.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center think tank has reported an increase in hate crimes against immigrants after the Election Day.
Jimenez added that many children, including American-born kids, are “afraid of what could happen to their undocumented parents” under Trump’s deportation policies.
During his campaign, Donald Trump said he would build a deportation force and announced a ten-point immigration plan that includes the termination of President Obama’s executive actions DACA and DAPA that temporarily protect certain immigrants from expulsion.
Shortly after becoming President-elect, however, Trump has declared that he will prioritize the deportation of people with criminal records, without specifically addressing the deportation of other immigrants.
Despite fears among immigrant families, “there is no way that we will stay in the shadows and not fight back,” Jimenez said.
The main event of the Day of Action will be a rally held outside the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington D.C. with U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a Democrat from Illinois, as keynote speaker.
“We want every senator and every member of Congress to see us and to hear our words, and we want President-elect Trump to understand the might, the resiliency and the power of our immigrant families,” said Kica Matos, Director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice of the Center for Community Change, one of the organizations of the coalition.
Texas Organizing Project and Fair Immigration Reform Movement are planning activities in Houston. Other cities from Texas participating in the Day of Action are San Antonio and Dallas.
The organizers are updating a list of events by location in the United We Dream website.
This story originally appeared 1/6/2017 in the Houston Chronicle.