Immigrant rights advocates march from Garfield Park to Statehouse

By Adrianna Pitrelli
TheStatehouseFile.com

 INDIANAPOLIS — Adrian Gutierrez works at a restaurant on the east side of Indianapolis Monday through Friday.

But on Thursday, he didn’t go to work. Instead, he marched four miles from Garfield Park to the Statehouse steps as part of a nationwide movement known as “A Day Without Immigrants.”

While holding his eight-year-old daughter’s hand, he joined the marchers in shouting, “Say it loud. Say it clear. Immigrants are welcome here.”

Nearly 300 people marched four miles to the Statehouse Thursday. They marched for immigrant rights. Photo by Adrianna Pitrelli, TheStatehouseFile.com

When the nearly 300 people got to the Statehouse, they waved signs that read, “I am an immigrant. I make America great” and “I want to live in a city where immigration is seen as a new source of strength.” An advocate gave a speech in Spanish, which had the people in the crowd cheering, clapping and waving their arms.

“I came here today because I want to show my daughter that we are part of America,” said Gutierrez, 33. “We are here legally, we pay taxes, we have rights.”

Immigrants across the country stayed home from work and school to show they play a crucial role in the American way of life and the economy.

This comes in response to President Donald Trump’s pledge to increase deportation of immigrants living in the country illegally.

Trump spent much of his campaign touting his desire to build a wall along the United States-Mexico border and blaming high unemployment on immigration.

Those who stand for immigrant rights hold signs at Thursday’s “A Day Without Immigrants” march. The march is a nationwide movement in response to President Donald Trump’s pledge to increase deportation of immigrants living in the country illegally. Photo by Adrianna Pitrelli, TheStatehouseFile.com

“I’m here legally, but that doesn’t matter to a lot of people who look at me, especially now that Trump is the president,” Gutierrez said. “People just look at me and think I’m not here legally and that hurts my daughter, too.”

He said his daughter came home from school one day, looked at him teary-eyed and asked, “Daddy, are we going to have to leave America?”

“It broke my heart, absolutely broke my heart,” Gutierrez said. “No one should have to deal with the hatred, and now even the children have to.”

Gutierrez said he will not stop fighting for immigrant rights — especially because he wants his daughter to feel welcome in America.

“She belongs here and I won’t stop fighting for her,” Gutierrez said. “Any march or movement that happens around Indianapolis, I will make sure I’m there and I will stand up for what I know is right.”

Immigrants and those in support of immigrant rights also marched in cities including Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. ABC News reported a Senate coffee shop in the nation’s capital was closed as employees did not show up to work.

Adrianna Pitrelli is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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