Immigration Rally at the State Capitol

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Nearly a hundred people gathered on the steps of the State Capitol to protest immigration decisions in the country, and in Arkansas. 

Right now, two known locations in Arkansas are being considered to house immigrants detained at the border. 

Many people at the rally say they’re concerned and afraid of what could be coming, calling this a basic human rights issue. The protestors do not want any immigrant children or families detained in our state.

For Jesus Sanchez-Olvera it’s about more than taking a stand. The 23-year-old is protected under DACA, after his family fled from Mexico entering the US illegally when he was 3-years-old.

“If my mother would have been caught with me and my brother I would have been in one of those cages,” Sanchez-Olvera said.

He’s one of dozens of protesters rallying on the steps of the state Capitol Thursday, hours after officials from the Department of Health and Human Services visited two sites in Arkansas they’re looking at as potential detainment centers.

“We feel the pressure when its in our own backyard,” said Cynthia Martinez with Mijente, an advocacy group that focuses on immigration rights. 

Martinez helped organize the rally. She says the goal is twofold, they’re objecting to President Donald Trump’s executive order to detain immigrant children with their parents, and they’re also concerned about comments Governor Asa Hutchinson made about housing immigrant children in a “compassionate way.”

“We do want families to be together but we want families to be free,” Martinez added. “It’s still very traumatizing to be in a detention center, it’s still very traumatizing to be incarcerated.”

For Sanchez-Olvera it hits close to home.

“I wake up everyday and I wonder, ‘will my parents still be here with me?  Will I be separated from my mom and dad? Will I be deported?'” he said.

Organizers say their goal is for state and federal lawmakers to hear their sense of urgency and act.  

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