Protesters marched through downtown Dallas Sunday afternoon, pushing a strong pro-illegal immigrant, pro-amnesty, and open borders agenda at a “mega march” that failed to deliver its anticipated “mega” turnout.
Billed as an interfaith “family, unity, and empowerment” rally, the 2017 Dallas Mega March called for “real immigration reform, an end to aggressive deportation efforts that have separated families, targeted DACA students, and left our communities in fear” and “an end to executive orders that discriminated against our Muslim brothers and sisters based on their faith.”
Organizers predicted 100,000 supporters would flood the streets of downtown Dallas for the march, which followed up a similar protest 11 years ago. They estimated 20,000 participated, but when all was said and done, the Dallas Police Department (DPD) accounted for maybe 3,200 attendees, a far cry from the city’s 2006 rally which drew nearly half a million people.
The #MegaMarch2017 is winding down. The crowd estimate was about 3,200 and there were no reported incidents or arrests.
— Dallas Police Dept (@DallasPD) April 9, 2017
In 2006, many Latino mega marchers carried American and Mexican flags. This time, organizers instructed protesters to “wear white, red, and blue” to show solidarity and told participants “only U.S.A. flags allowed.” Some held homemade signs. One read: “No ban, no wall.”
Another said: “Rise Up!,” reflecting the “Unite, Rise Up and Defend” campaign launched by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in February. The Hispanic activist group supports DREAMer and DACA programs and is highly critical of the Trump Administration on immigration policy. LULAC’s National President Roger Rocha, Jr. spoke at the Dallas event. He told WFAA: “There are times you have to march to get your point across. This is one of those times.” Rocha likened the mega march to the Washington, D.C.-held women’s march. “Same thing here but for immigration reform and to start getting families together again,” he said.
A 28-year-0ld Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient from Mexico who was illegally brought into the United States as a child, told WFAA: “I don’t believe in borders of any kind.”
She also suggested more migrants did not attend on Sunday for fear of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids. However, the event webpage dispelled that myth emphasizing: “ICE should not be attending the mega march.”
Reportedly, marchers reflected many ethnicities and religious backgrounds. Flower Mound resident Fazila Luqman wore a hijab covering her hair and carried a “Rise Up” sign, noted KXAS. “We all want peace and unity amongst ourselves and it’s why we’re here,” she said.
Some of the progressive activists, Democrat officials, and clergy who served as guest speakers included Fort Worth’s U.S. Congressman Marc Veasey, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, LULAC’s Rocha, Valley Ranch Imam Omar Suleiman, and Martin Luther King III.
King never mentioned Trump’s name when talking to KXAS, but he was highly critical of the President and his administration. King said: “The primary message today is there are a compilation of issues that our nation appears to be dealing with in a less than not genuine but in the wrong way,” citing immigration, environmentalism, health care, and school lunch programs.
Alluding to the November 2016 presidential election, King added: “If we had mobilized in our communities and voted maybe we would have had a different outcome.” He promised unity for the 2018 midterm elections so that they can “at least create balance in Washington.”
U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke also spoke. The El Paso Democrat recently announced he will run against conservative U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) in 2018. Last year, Breitbart Texas reported O’Rourke pounced on El Paso’s black police chief Greg Allen for calling Black Lives Matter “a radical hate group” following the July 2016 Dallas massacre that left five officers dead and nine injured.
San Antonio Democrat and U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro touted the mega march as “people coming together to stand up for unity.” He told reporters he will decide later this month if he intends to challenge Cruz in the next midterm election.
State Representative Victoria Neave (D-Dallas), who upset Republican incumbent Kenneth Sheets in Texas House District 107, tweeted: “Eleven years ago, I marched w/my family. This time, I march as a State Representative fighting anti-immigration legislation at #txlege.
— Victoria Neave (@Victoria4Texas) April 9, 2017
Dallas police maintained a heavily armed presence throughout the mega march which marked the city’s first larger protest since last summer’s DPD ambush. The demonstration remained peaceful with no arrests or incidents.
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