PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Hundreds gathered outside the State House Friday to rally against the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s planned raids this weekend.
Providence is one of 700 cities participating in the “Lights For Liberty” rally worldwide.
ICE is reportedly targeting approximately 2,000 immigrants who are in the United States illegally and those who have received final deportation orders.
“This kind of fearmongering impacts communities and families across the state. Nationwide, it not only has the potential to impact the people that they are looking for, but also the family and community around it,” David Veliz of Progreso Latino said.
The operation by the Trump administration will reportedly target undocumented immigrants in at least 10 major cities nationwide.
On Friday, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza was adamant that police in the capital city will not cooperate with immigration officials.
“They published a name of some major cities, Providence hasn’t been on that list. But, that hasn’t stopped people in our community from being frightened,” Elorza said.
Lilian Calderon was once one of those people. The Providence mother of two was detained by ICE officials for a month in 2018, while in the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. She spoke at Friday night’s rally.
“I know how lost, confused and saddened the families are feeling,” Calderon said. “Children do not belong in cages. People trying to seek relief in the United States should not be imprisoned for trying to better the lives of their families.”
The head of Rhode Islanders for Immigration Law Enforcement tells Eyewitness News these raids are overdue, saying the immigrants who will be targeted were given fair warning.