Thousands march in downtown Los Angeles in support of immigration and sanctuary

"Free the People" Immigration march in downtown Los Angeles

Titi Mary Tran/ Nguoi-viet English

LOS ANGELES (NV) — Diana Nguyen, a teacher from Huntington Park, Calif., had dozens of reasons to attend the “Free the People” march Saturday morning.

“I’m here for my students,” she said.

Nguyen was one of thousands of people who descended upon downtown’s Pershing Square to demand sanctuary for all in light of President Donald Trump’s stated intention to deport illegal immigrants.

“I came here to uphold my beliefs,” Nguyen said. “I do believe that America is a nation of immigrants, and [I came] for my students, of which 99 percent is Latino. I really do think this whole immigration ban is affecting them and larger communities.”

The light rain did not deter the thousands of protesters who attended the rally, who waved signs denouncing the president and supporting refugees and immigrants. Marching behind the banner reading “We demand sanctuary for all” were members of a number or organizations, including the California Nurses Association, American Indian Movement Southern California, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles and Immigrant Youth Coalition.

Thousands march in downtown Los Angeles in support of immigration and sanctuary
Vietnamese immigrants share their beliefs at the ‘Free the People’ march Feb. 18 in Los Angeles

Chanting phrases such as “Say it loud, say it clear, immigrants are welcome here” and “No ban, no wall, sanctuary for all,” the crowd marched from the corner of Hill and 5th streets, toward Broadway, to head to Los Angeles City Hall.

Just one week after taking office, Trump signed an executive order banning entry into the U.S. of citizens from seven predominantly Muslim Middle Eastern and African countries. Even though a federal judge in Seattle blocked Trump’s order and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his decision, immigrants and non-immigrants took to the streets in protest.

The president promised to rework his order, and on Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security released documents containing the administration’s intention to find, arrest and deport people who are illegally living in the country, even if they have not committed a serious crime.

Thousands march in downtown Los Angeles in support of immigration and sanctuary
The pro-immigration crowd marches at Pershing Square in Los Angeles