PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Following on the heels of President Donald Trump declaring a national emergency to move billions of dollars from various federal budgets to fund building a wall along the southern border of the US, protests happened nationwide to fight the plan.
Music began at 4 p.m. in downtown Portland with a number of speakers following. Organizers described the event as “an evening of fierce resistance but also a celebration of our migrant community!”
Hundreds of protesters gathered at Tom McCall Park, calling it a “Not My President” protest. The rally opened with a skit showing a family torn apart by men acting as ICE agents.
“We are working hard to build up a coalition that will fight back, not only in demonstrations but also legally, will be building a coalition to fight back, to hold ICE accountable, to hold our president accountable, to say enough is enough,” organizer Francisco Aguirre said.
They are speaking out against Trump and his immigration policies and standing with migrant communities, including families separated at the border and groups targeted in immigration policies of the current administration.
Portland organizers made sure to note this protest is designed to be peaceful: “We are working with and supporting a targeted community. Please be mindful of who we are fighting for!! Bring banners, signs, flags, noise makers!”
“He’s declaring an emergency on an emergency that he created himself,” organizer Amy Sitarz said. “The true emergency is the crisis at the border, the separation of their families and children being detained.”
Many said Trump’s declaration is an unconstitutional power grab.
“We have a president who’s trying to usurp the balance of powers all to himself, that’s a very dangerous thing,” protester Doug Owen said.
The early afternoon event in Vancouver’s Esther Short Park will feature Carolyn Long — who ran and lost a close race against Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in November 2018 — explaining “how this abuse of presidential power threatens our democracy.”
“We believe he’s not living up to the rule of law and when the legislature says no, he should do something else,” Vancouver demonstrator Mary Laski said.
The nationwide protests are being organized by MoveOn.org — from Boston to New York to Detroit, Chicago to Minneapolis to Denver, Los Angeles to San Francisco to Seattle.
Organizers say Trump’s declaration and usurpation of budgeted money are unconstitutional and will “continue to devastate families seeking asylum.” They urge protesters to “come out of the woodwork and tell Trump that we do not stand for his policies of deliberate cruelty.”
Other area rallies include Silverton’s Town Square Park at noon and the Longview Civic Circle at 5 p.m.