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Thousands Expected At Immigrant Rights Rallies In NC

Uriel Rodriguez, 12, watches on as other speakers prepare to take the podium at the "Families Belong Together" rally to protest a recent Trump administration policy of separating families detained after illegally crossing the Mexico border.
Liz Schlemmer
File photo of a "Families Belong Together" rally on June 21, 2018. Similar rallies are planned across North Carolina and the country on Saturday to protest the Trump administration's immigration policies.

Thousands of people are expected to rally in cities across North Carolina Saturday to protest the Trump Administration's immigration policies. Among those are a ban on immigration from predominantly Muslim countries the separation and detention of families at the U.S.-Mexico border.Chavi Khanna Koneru leads North Carolina Asian Americans Together, which will join the march in downtown Raleigh on Saturday morning.

The group advocates for people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. Koneru said the U.S. has a history of discriminatory immigration policy, including the Chinese Exclusion Act, and the practice of confining Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II.

“We want our elected officials and the administration to hear this message,” Koneru said. “We want immigrant communities to know that we are fighting for them and that we stand together. Different immigrant communities are standing together on these issues.”

Raleigh's Families Belong Together March begins in City Plaza at 10 a.m. Koneru said NCAAT and other groups will be helping citizens register to vote.

Another rally will happen in Greensboro, where immigrant allies will gather to protest the separation of families by federal immigration enforcement.

Pastor Julie Peeples, of the Greensboro Faith Leaders Council, is one of the event organizers. She said even though the Trump Administration has ended its policy of separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border, many children are still separated from their children.

Peeples also said that six people have taken sanctuary at North Carolina churches to avoid deportations and thousands more are in detention at private facilities.

“The change in policy did not bring an end to family separation, in fact it is still going on,” Peeples said. “Families are being detained in increasingly large numbers, they are still being detained, and we need to shine a light on all that.”

Peeples said this weekend's march and rally are intended to provide immigrants and opportunity to share their stories, and mobilize allies to action. The Greensboro march begins at Government Plaza at 4 p.m. and ends with a rally at LeBauer Park.

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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