United States

Protesters Support Immigrants in ‘Lights for Liberty' Vigils

Protesters gathered at "Lights for Liberty" vigils in the D.C. area Friday night in support of immigrants across the country.

Hundreds of protesters held battery candles as the sun began to set over Lafayette Square. Some raised them skyward in memory of the people — including children — who have died at the US southern border. 

"What we're seeing from these camps, that is not America," said Linda Lawson, a protester at the event.

Many held signs protesting the conditions of the migrants being held there. 

"I worked my entire professional life with children and families and I know that this is life long trauma that's being inflicted upon these innocent youngsters, these refugees," said Judy Madden, another protester.

About 600 vigils were held throughout the U.S. in light of growing concerns for undocumented immigrants living in cities targeted for weekend ICE raids that are expected to begin Sunday.

"We're seeing levels of fear that are really comparable to early 2017," said Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg, director of the Legal Aid Justice Center. "Our phones are ringing off the hook."

The center provides people with resources about what to do if they're confronted by ICE officers.

President Donald Trump said that only undocumented criminals have reason to fear.

"They're going to take people out, and they're going to bring them back to their countries, or they're going to take criminals out, put them in prisons, or put them in prisons in the country they came from," Trump said.

Some activists aren't so sure.

"I don't buy it at all because he's saying that just crossing the border is criminal," said Evelyn Brumar, a first-generation Mexican-American and "Lights for Liberty" participant.

Seeing the images of conditions being endured and hearing stories of family separation have made some activists frustrated and angry.

"We need to be a welcoming place. We need more immigrants," said Mary Neznek, a protester.

"I'm not a nurse, I'm not a lawyer, I can't help at the border, but I'd love to be able to do something to help change what we're doing," said Mary Pat Rowan, another protester at the event.

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