Groups rally to protect Delaware immigrants

“Take a stand,” that’s the message for Delaware Gov. John Carney from a group of more than 75 gathered at an immigration rally in downtown Wilmington Thursday morning.

The group is calling on Carney to use his authority as governor to protect immigrants and their families in Delaware from the deportation efforts of the Trump administration.

“I believe the immigration policies of the Trump administration will start another dark chapter,” Maria Matos told the crowd. Matos, who leads the Latin American Community Center in Wilmington, said America has mistreated immigrants and minorities in the past, from slavery and the Trail of Tears to Japanese internment camps.

“Each one was considered legal and justified at the time,” Matos said. “Now, they’re condemned as an assault on the values that define our nation.”

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Matos urged Carney to take a stand on the right side of history. “Get off the fence. He’s our friend, prove it. That’s what I say to the governor. Make this a sanctuary state. Defend our immigrants. Don’t let Trump use our police force as immigration force, as deportation force.”

Matos along with ACLU Delaware leaders and more than 500 individuals have signed a letter to Carney asking him not to cooperate with Trump’s plans.

Specifically, they want Carney to refuse to authorize any formal cooperation agreements between state agencies and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; they want Carney to order the Department of Correction not to hold anyone for ICE without a judicial arrest warrant; they also want him to protect state and local databases that contain information about immigration statuses, so that information is not shared with federal agencies without a judicial order.

In an email, Carney stated, “Delaware will remain a safe, welcoming community for everyone to educate their children, have access to good-paying jobs and pursue the American Dream. President Trump’s actions on immigration have understandably caused anxiety and fear. I will continue to meet with members of our immigrant communities, listen to their concerns and do everything I can to ensure that Delaware is a welcoming place. We are a country founded on immigration, and we ought to remain true to our values of diversity and inclusion.”

State Rep. Paul Baumbach, D-Newark, also addressed the rally, telling the group it was an example of constituents leading the way for lawmakers.

“This country was founded as a refuge from persecution, and we are on the verge of being a base for persecution. That must end,” Baumbach said. 

As the rally wrapped up, members of the crowd were given postcards addressed to Carney, so they could send their own message to Dover, urging him to protect Delaware immigrants and not to cooperate with ICE.

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