Thousands Rally in Washington for Immigration

(ESPAÑOL) Thousands rallied in Washington Saturday less than a week before President-elect Donald Trump takes office to make clear their opposition to his policies on immigration and social justice.

The demonstrations came at two separate events. At Washington’s historic Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, protesters made clear their objections to Trump’s immigration policies, vowing to mobilize the Latino vote in upcoming elections.

At the other event, a march organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network and more than a dozen other groups, speakers criticized Trump’s nomination of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to lead the Justice Department, fearing that he will reverse Obama administration policies on civil rights. Marchers also demanded action on social justice issues, including mass incarceration and voting rights, while also honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., whose birthday is commemorated this weekend ahead of Monday’s federal holiday.

Those packed into the church were joined by allies at around 70 similar events nationwide, according to Fernanda‎ Durand of the advocacy group CASA.

Attendees voiced concerns that the end of President Barack Obama’s tenure meant the end of protections like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for young people without legal status. Candidate Trump at one point advocated for a “deportation force” to remove those without legal status, though House Speaker Paul Ryan told CNN this week Trump is more concerned with “the people who are violent criminals, repeat offenders who keep coming back in.”

The march, which was co-sponsored by the NAACP, was capped by a rally in Washington that attracted speakers from advocacy groups, the local government and the Senate.

Among the speakers were Sharpton, Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, President of the National Urban League Marc Morial, and Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Cornell Williams Brooks, president of the NAACP, had strong words for Trump. Responding to Trump’s comments earlier Saturday to civil rights icon and Georgia Rep. John Lewis, Brooks called Trump’s comments disrespectful and asserted that Lewis was an “icon of the civil rights movement” who came “perilously close to becoming a martyr” because of it.