By Manasi Kaushik
Hundreds gathered at the Daley Plaza on a Friday afternoon to express their disappointment and anger as President Donald Trump was sworn into office.
“I came out here to tell Donald Trump that I don’t support his allegations about immigrants and am against mass incarcerations,” said Daysha Delvalle, a senior at Crane Medical Preparatory High School on the West Side.
Trump’s “firm” stance on immigration has been an integral part of his message since his 2016 campaign. He has pledged to deport all illegal immigrants who according to him are “in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc.”
“If we only enforce the laws against crime, then we have an open border to the entire world, world,” said Trump in a speech outlining his immigration policy in Phoenix.
The protest largely revolved around the impact of deportation on the lives of American citizens as demonstrators called for justice and liberation.
Jennifer Olivera, an 18-year-old high school student at Benito Juarez Community Academy said: “I am here for my parents who are undocumented immigrants. The possibility of their getting deported is beyond terrifying for me. But I am here for them, to tell them that I support them.”
Olivera was not alone in expressing her fear of having loved ones deported. Her friend and schoolmate Alanis Lucio, 18, said “I have people who are undocumented in my family and with Trump being our president, I feel terrified, oppressed and let down by the people of this country.”
While some expressed feelings of fright, others such as Cecilia Garcia expressed her feelings of anger and hurt.
“My husband was deported four years ago and since then I have been forced to play the role of both mom and dad to my five American citizen children,” said Garcia, a 41-year-old American-born Latino woman, who works three jobs to make ends meet. “When my husband was here, I just worked part time and that money was for my own shopping.
“Now I can’t even think of taking an off. I see this is an opportunity because Trump is an American citizen like myself and Melania is an immigrant like my spouse.
“ All he needs to do is revoke the IIRIRA Act which was meant to keep terrorists out but in reality has terrorized American citizen families.”
As the day progressed, the protesters marched out of the Daley Center toward the Trump tower hurling insults about the newly elected president.
Photo at top: Protesters gather at the Daley Plaza to express their opposition to President Donald Trump’s position on immigration. (Manasi Kaushik/MEDILL)