Students March in response to executive orders

By Keith Hernandez

DeKALB | More than 60 NIU students, faculty and staff marched to honks and shouts of support and a few shaking heads around noon Friday in response to President Donald Trump’s immigration executive orders and in conjunction with A Day Without Immigrants.

A Day Without Immigrants was a national demonstration held Thursday by those affected by a more powerful Immigration and Customs Enforcement and a new executive order tailored to Trump’s now-defunct travel ban announced Thursday during a press conference at the White House. The demonstration consisted of labor, school and work boycotts by immigrants.

At least two restaurants — Burritoville, 1026 W. Hillcrest Drive, and Los 3 Burritos, 185 W. Lincoln Highway — in DeKalb closed Thursday as part of the protest.

NIU students peacefully held banners that read, “No human is illegal” and shouted chants such as, “The people united will never be divided” throughout the campus-wide circuit that started and ended in MLK Commons. Students also gave speeches after the march.

Karlos Lugo, senior community leadership and civic engagement major, said the purpose of the demonstration was to tell immigrants that they are welcome at NIU.

“I think it’s important to emphasize that without the people and their effort to wake up every day to provide for their country, there wouldn’t be [a] country; there wouldn’t be [a] government,” Lugo said. “I am the product of immigrants.”

Lugo, along with several of the participants, said while he felt NIU is doing a good job making undocumented students feel safe on campus, he would like to make sure NIU maintains that environment.

“I believe NIU does provide the adequate resources for those who are undocumented to continue studying here,” Lugo said. “We appreciate everything NIU has done for our students and for the people here in DeKalb, and we just want to make sure they continue being an ally toward immigrant students.”

Melanie Sandoval, senior corporate communication and Spanish double major, said the march also gave students a chance to participate in A Day Without Immigrants without missing class or work. Sandoval, along with a group of students, organized the march a couple days before Thursday.

“This is a better way of showing our faces, coming together, unifying, letting people know that we are here, we are participating, and we are their allies and we are going to have their backs,” Sandoval said.

Although immigrants account for 13 percent of the U.S. population, they make up about 16 percent of the U.S. workforce, according to the Economic Policy Institute.