CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- President Donald Trump’s plan to round up illegal immigrants in Chicago and other major cities starting Sunday prompted thousands of protesters to gather in Daley Plaza on Saturday.
In announcing the raids, the president said the main goal was to find and deport criminals “as much as possible.” Trump said he wants to get known criminals off the streets and out of the country and that the raids would help put people who have committed crimes in this country in prison either here or in their home countries.
During the Daley Plaza rally, speakers and protesters said they worried that the raids would instead unfairly target illegal immigrants who are otherwise law-abiding.
Julie Webb with the Illinois Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism said she worries the raids would unfairly target otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants and break up families. She said it’s happened before.
“Children who’ve been separated from their families, and mothers and fathers who have had their children ripped from their arms, and so we have great concern for that,” Webb said.
Protesters also claimed the raids are targeting illegal immigrants who didn’t show up for immigration court dates, because the government failed to properly notify them of those dates. The demonstrators said it’s unfair and unjust to punish people who didn’t show up in court because the government didn’t give them proper notice.
Mony Ruiz-Velasco of the West Suburban Action Project is one of the protest organizers.
“Our communities have been ‘criminalized’ forever. Our communities of color. So calling them ‘criminals’ is really a rallying call, but I think we need to our communities to understand that is coded language for people of color,” Ruiz-Velasco said.
Ruiz-Velasco said she also worries the raids will unfairly target illegal immigrants who are otherwise law-abiding, while breaking up families.