"Day without Immigrants" march held in Grand Island

Day without Immigration march in Grand Island on Feb. 16, 2017 (NTV News)

Marchers took to the streets of Grand Island, for a "day without immigrants."

“Si, se puede.”

Marching with cries of “yes, we can”, around 200 people paraded through Grand Island.

“Just supporting as we call it, La Raza, the family,” Angela Soto said.

She got out of school to attend.

She said, “Showing young people have a voice too.”

She used her voice to speak against President Trump's policies, that she says have resulted in uncertainty.

Soto said, “Even people with papers that are here legally are scared about what's going to happen. Families going to be torn apart, people don't want to go to work, even students don't want to go to school.”

Angela says she was born in Grand Island.

Others say Nebraska is all they know, but for those brought to the country illegally when they were young, they say fear is growing.

Maria Tinajero said, “My little brothers were born here, so I don't know what would really happen. It's scary the thought your family you grew up with could be separated at any moment.”

Under Pres. Obama’s “deferred action” policy, those young people were told the government would not take action against them. But so-called “dreamers” now say they’re not sure what policy changes could mean for them.

Pres. Trump says those entering the country illegally pose a threat to national security.

The president says illegal immigration strains federal resources and local communities; That's why he wants a wall on the southern border.

But these marchers say the president has it wrong.

Organizer Wilmer Mendoza said, “The only thing we can stop is hope for reform, hope it'll be easier for our people to be legal. They want to work here; they're not out doing crime. They want to work.”

What started with a handful of people in a downtown parking lot, bloomed into a parade nearly the length of a city block as it passed down Third Street, stopping at the Grand Island Public Library where organizers called for reform.

The march encountered no organized resistance, although at street corners as they blocked traffic, they encountered what appeared to be angry honks. And many negative comments on social media.

Marching under banners proclaiming ”peace” in English and Spanish, those at the rally say the message is about unity.

“Latinos unidos, jamás serán vencidos,” which translates to Latinos united, will never be divided.

Those we talked to say most marchers were citizens, or legal residents.

NTV saw no opposition along the route, but did have more than 1,000 comments on Facebook. Many of them support Pres. Trump and his border security policies.

Past Rallies

This immigration rally was far from the first for Grand Island.

There were two marches in the spring of 2006, that saw thousands of people take part – far more than the 200 at this rally.

The rallies a decade ago saw cooperation from churches, unions, and other organizations. That was not the case with this march.

In fact, some local Latino leaders tell NTV there was some question about who was organizing this march, and what the focus would be. They say that likely resulted in smaller attendance than past marches like those 11 years ago.

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