Immigration groups unite over deportation fears
Organizations gather to condemn racist attacks
DETROIT – Nearly 20 civil rights and Faith based organizations are coming together to condemn recent racist attacks on immigrants and vowing to act on behalf of undocumented immigrants.
The organizations involved said they’ve fielded calls from residents fearing backlash following last week's presidential election and worried about what they believe will be mass deportations in the future.
Sergio Martinez is one of an estimated 100,00-150,000 immigrants in Michigan illegally. He fears his days as a Detroiter are numbered.
"We are not about violence," Martinez said. "I’m not about looting, but we will do everything we can to protect our families."
President-elect Donald Trump vowed to bring stronger immigration enforcement, starting with people who are in the country illegally and who have criminal records.
"Gang members, drug dealers, a lot of these people, 2 maybe 3 million people," Trump said. "We are getting them out of our country."
Immigrants rights organizations doubt it is only a purge on criminals.
"We reject the notion you can slice and dice the community into good immigrants and bad immigrants," Randy Bates, of Michigan United, said.
They are seeking congregations willing to provide sanctuary to immigrant families in threat of deportation, and volunteer attorneys to defend them.
"We are getting calls, emails from lawyers, law students, college students, nuns, imams, pastors and hundreds of others who are saying this is not what America is about, and we are here to help you," Ruby Robinson, of the Michigan Immigrants Rights Center, said.
An incident in a Royal Oak Middle School lunch room and an attack on an Ann Arbor woman over the weekend are leaving legal immigrants fearful.
"There’s no place for racism, especially in our schools," Alicia Ramone said.
Immigrants hope Trump will put his words of reconciliation over the weekend into action, but they are taking action of their own. They are planning a "know your rights" town hall for the immigrant community this weekend.
Anyone who is concerned about being in danger of deportation, wants to learn their rights or find out more about the recruitment of attorneys can click here to learn more.
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