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  January 26, 2017

Thousands Rally Against Trump's Orders Against Refugees, Muslims and Immigrants

TRNN speaks to advocates who say Trump is targeting refugees from countries where the US has carried out military interventions or backed authoritarian regimes
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CROWD: (chanting) Say it loud! Say it clear! Immigrants are welcome here!

DAVID DOUGHERTY: On Wednesday, January 25th the wave of demonstrations taking place across the United States continued, as President Donald Trump signed another series of controversial Executive Memorandums. Today's Executive Orders promised to boost deportations, end sanctuary cities, greenlight the border wall construction, and put a freeze on accepting refugees from a number of countries.

Immigration activists and allies gathered in front of the White House in a show of resistance to the Trump Administration's latest announcement of sweeping political changes.

GREISA MARTINEZ: When they thought that they were burying us, they didn't realize that we were seeds. They didn't realize that we will grow roots. They didn't realize that we will sprout, and become like this mighty tree, unmoveable and something to deal with. As of today, I tell you, brothers and sisters, I'm not afraid. I am not concerned about what will happen to me, because I know that you will have my back.

DAVID DOUGHERTY: A number of dreamer students, like Claudia QuiƱonez, were present at the rally, where they expressed their concerns over the Executive Orders promised to defund sanctuary cities, a move whose feasibility is questioned, and opposed, by a growing number of local governments across the United States.

CLAUDIA QUINONEZ: Ah, you know, my family, my mother could be at potential risk. She could possibly be deported, and she's the only support I have in this country. If she were to go back to Bolivia, you know, I wouldn't know what to do.

DAVID DOUGHERTY: President Trump's Executive Order also announced plans to limit the U.S.'s acceptance of refugees, particularly those of a number of Muslim countries. Journalist Rania Khalek notes that many of the countries on the list are recent victims of United States' intervention and destabilization. But that other U.S. allied countries that could be classified as fomenting Islamic extremism, such as Saudi Arabia, were conspicuously absent from the list.

RANIA KHALEK: People are fleeing for their lives. They're fleeing people that we helped arm and fund. Or they're fleeing people who came to power because of situations that we caused. And our response to that is to ban those people? I mean, I think that really demonstrates the level of... the lack of compassion, that... The place that the U.S. has come to, where it's that little compassion, to the point where we're just banning the victims of our violence...

DAVID DOUGHERTY: Demonstrators later marched to a busy street in front of the White House, where they sat in the intersection and blocked traffic in an act of civil disobedience. Isaias Guerrero of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, says that Trump's promise to move forward with building a border wall, won't solve the United States' immigration problem. And is more concerned with today's Executive Order promising to restore the previously discontinued Secured Communities Program. Which established partnerships between Federal immigration authorities and local law enforcement agencies.

ISAIAS GUERRERO: The wall just represents a big waste of money. It's one of the ways in which he can symbolically exercise his power, but it does not address the real problem, which is, there's 11 million people that are here undocumented, that are victims every day of the deportation machine. And we have local police and local sheriffs that are collaborating with Immigration. And that needs to stop. And so, in order for that to happen, we need to come together and organize.

DAVID DOUGHERTY: After record levels of deportations under the Obama Administration, immigration activists are bracing for the impact of the incoming Trump government, which has promised to crack down even further on the millions of undocumented immigrants living and working in the United States.

An additional protest targeting President Trump's policies towards Muslims and refugees, is planned for tomorrow, Thursday the 26th -- as the week of national mobilizations against the Trump Administration's first week in power continues.

Reporting from Washington D.C., I'm David Dougherty with The Real News Network.




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