LA immigrant rights groups hold rally: 'We, too, are America'

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles area immigrant rights groups gathered to express their concerns over the future of immigration reform the day after President-Elect Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles and other groups came together to show support for immigrant families Wednesday morning.

Several immigrant supporters aimed to send a message that Trump, who has promised to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, will not succeed in his plans to deport millions of working immigrants.

"We will not let many of the threats that have been promised, as part of his agenda, to become a reality," said CHIRLA Executive Director Angelica Salas. "We tell him and we tell the Republican Party that we, too, are America; that we, too, are citizens of this nation, and that we expect that he represent us equally."

Religious community members, including priests and ministers, attended the rally and shared prayers. They held hands with distraught families as a sign of unity and strength against Trump's "platform of hate and fear."

"We must be valiant. We must go ahead. God is always with us," said Father Richard Estrada, founder of youth program Jovenes Inc.

Yamilex Rustrian, 21, has seen her share of adversity. When she was 7 years old, her mother - who lived in the states - hired a coyote to smuggle her and her 6-year-old sister into the country after their father was killed by gang members in Guatemala.

"It's something that as a young girl, nobody should have to go through, but unfortunately the struggles back home are too much," she said.

She is undocumented, and she and her sister are protected from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act enacted by President Barack Obama in 2012. It's a policy she fears will go away with Trump in the White House.

She said she thought people would know better than to elect a man who often made racist remarks about the Latin community.

Ivan Ceja, who is also protected by the policy, is the creator of Undocu-feed, which is a Facebook page with a reach of 4 million people.

Salas praised the state of California, saying local communities worked hard and showed force in the election, but there is still more work to do.
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