Northern Illinois Residents Join 'Lights For Liberty'
Protesters have been mobilizing to show solidarity with immigrants. Candlelight vigils were held in Rockford and Woodstock over the weekend.
Under DeKalb’s central city mural in Memorial Park, around 150 residents gathered to show solidarity with immigrant and undocumented community members. They also drew attention to living conditions and policies at detention centers.
Melissa Huneke attended the DeKalb protest with her two children, holding signs about the asylum process.
“There's a big misconception that if you're applying for asylum, that you can do that before you cross the border,” she said. “And everyone thinks that if you've crossed the border, you're automatically illegal.”
Huneke said she sees a lack of public knowledge about the immigration process and experience and wants people to educate themselves.
“That's what it comes down to, is caring,” said Huneke about demonstrating. “Because that's a big deal, kids being neglected and abused. That's not okay.”
The demonstration was organized by resident Cynthia deSeife and partners like Welcoming Western Counties, a local immigration resource. Oliver Camacho is a volunteer with the group.
Camacho said there’s fear and uncertainty throughout the immigrant community in northern Illinois.
He said he’d like to see demonstrators turn their support into sustainable advocacy efforts.
“And with that in mind, it's like, okay, you want to see change? Know that it does take some hard work and some certain level of commitment,” said Camacho.
“Even if it's volunteering at a local community organization, or cultural center. All of those things are very, very important,” he said. “Giving to others is important. I think that's the biggest message that I would want to convey. Definitely work with others that are outside of your normal circle.”
U.S. cities like Chicago braced for multi-day ICE raids that were expected to begin Sunday. Mayor Lori Lightfoot told NPR’s 1A show on Monday morning that Chicago saw “very little” ICE activity so far.