Demonstrators rally against immigration policy at Kelly Ingram Park

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) - Protests against the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy on illegal immigration were held across the country Saturday. In Birmingham, demonstrators gathered in Kelly Ingram Park to voice their opposition.

“I beg of anyone who will hear me, make a change. Please,” said an immigrant speaker during the rally as a translator echoed her words in Spanish.

The crowd that gathered heard from several immigrants about the issue, some of whom had entered the United States illegally as children but assimilated into society and became citizens under a policy different from the current one.

“We realize that tearing children apart from their families is something that really strikes at the core," said Carlos Aleman with the Hispanic interest Coalition of Alabama. "This isn't aligned with our own American values and so what you're seeing here is people saying this is not right. And we have to do something about it and they came out here today to show that.”

Aleman said he believes the current immigration policy is dangerous and he hopes the voices raised in protest will be heard.

With prompting from a speaker at the podium, the crowd chanted a response: “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now. If we don't get it, shut it down.”

“Everybody always says, 'Oh it's Birmingham, it's garbage, it's racist, it's backwards.’ While certainly there are elements of that, that's just not the case. There's lots of people in Birmingham who want to make things better," explained Rachel Rains, co-chair of the Birmingham Democratic Socialists.

“Oh, I think Birmingham has always been the cradle of the Civil Rights movement and here you have people who do care. They know how to do this. They've done this before. And it's another opportunity to lead the in showing that when something is wrong, we stand up against it," said Aleman.

The rally was one of many across the state and across the country Saturday from New York to Los Angeles.


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