Across the country and throughout Miami-Dade, thousands of immigrants and their allies gathered Monday to protest President Donald Trump’s toughened immigration enforcement measures, and to mark International Workers’ Day.
From Miami to Washington, D.C., and from the U.S. capital to Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles, immigrants and activists rallied on the streets and campuses to denounce stepped-up detentions and deportations of foreign nationals that have been taking place nationwide since Trump took office on Jan. 20.
The main events in Miami-Dade took place in Homestead and Miami.
In Homestead, dozens of demonstrators staged a protest march that began in front of City Hall. At the same time, organizers said, several businesses closed in solidarity with demonstrators, and a number of farm workers stayed away from the fields, also as part of the protest.
In Miami, Mayor Tomás Regalado, in a gesture of solidarity with immigrants, handed a key to the city to Miguel Bernal, a Guatemalan who works in farms and construction in Homestead. The event took place at the Wolfson campus of Miami Dade College downtown. It also featured Archbishop of Miami Thomas Wenski, an immigrant advocate.
Then, at dusk, hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the county building downtown to denounce the policies of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez, whose administration openly collaborates with Immigration and Customs Enforcement in turning over foreign nationals arrested by local police and whose names appear on detainers issued by ICE.
Similar events also took place from coast to coast and border to border, in all large cities and communities where there are significant numbers of immigrants, particularly undocumented immigrants.
One of the largest concentrations was expected in Washington, D.C.
“Our presence in this country is being questioned by Donald Trump,” Fernanda Durand of CASA in Action told USA Today. “We are tired of being demonized and serving as scapegoats — enough is enough!”
Protests in Washington, Homestead and Miami were part of more than 200 events in more than 200 communities in more than 40 states, Durand said.
Although May Day is not marked in the United States as a national or official holiday, the annual event in other countries commemorates an episode that occurred in Chicago on May 4, 1886, which led to violence.
Police officers were trying to disperse a protest rally during a strike in favor of an eight-hour shift. Suddenly someone threw a bomb and gunfire erupted, killing at least seven people.
Later, May 1 was chosen as the annual commemoration date for the Chicago event and since then, with the support of influential groups led by anarchists, communists and socialists, international workers or May Day began. Today, many workers stage marches and rallies in many cities around the world.
Follow Alfonso Chardy on Twitter: @AlfonsoChardy