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Thousands Protest In Raleigh Against Trump's Immigration Policies

Thousands of people gathered across North Carolina this weekend to protest the Trump administration's immigration policies. 

Many demonstrators dressed in white and carried signs that read “Build Bridges, Not Walls” and “Don't Have A Heart Of I.C.E." They flooded the sidewalks at the Families Belong Together march in downtown Raleigh.

Chapel Hill resident Manali Nekkanti brought her husband Ram, who pushed their young daughter Kaia in a stroller. Manali Nekkanti said she couldn't imagine having her daughter taken from her and isolated in detention. She said she's concerned that federal protocols of separating and detaining families at the U.S.-Mexico border have been unclear.

“One of the things that I would really like to see happening is a lot more transparency in terms of where children are being held, where families are being held, how many folks are being reunited and how long is this process going to take?” Nekkanti said. “I think there's been a lot of evasion under a lot of public pressure. I see that there's pressure for the policy to end, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of action, but a lot of rhetoric, in response.”

Many marchers shouted chants in protest of deportations and the ban on refugees from majority-Muslim countries.

Hiram Reynolds came up from Fayetteville for the Families Belong Together march. He carried a sign urging compassion for immigrants fleeing violence in their countries of origin.

Reynolds said he opposed the practice of separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. President Trump said the action was required by law and advocated his immigration reform plan before he issued an executive order to stop the separations. Now, families who cross illegally are detained together. 

“And why is the American government in the business of kidnapping kids?” Reynold said. “I don't understand that. Holding them as hostages in order to get their agenda through, that's wrong.”

Reynolds also said he worried that last week's shooting in an Annapolis newsroom was encouraged by President Trump's rhetoric against the press. He said attacks on the press reminded him of dictatorships he witnessed during his 12 years of service in the U.S. Army.

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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