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Iowa Latinos participated in a silent protest and voter registration event in response to Donald Trump’s campaign stop in Marshalltown, Iowa yesterday, where he eagerly received an endorsement from notorious Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Immigrant activists preparing to protest the Trump/Joe Arpaio rally in Marshalltown. pic.twitter.com/MP189Qq5nu
— Kate Linthicum (@katelinthicum) January 26, 2016
Sheriff Joe Arpaio endorses Trump: “Everything I believe in he’s doing and going to do when he becomes president.” pic.twitter.com/vLefwqPOdf
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) January 26, 2016
Participants in last night’s silent protest — which swelled due to the last-minute appearance by Arpaio — hoped to provide a peaceful, proactive response to Trump’s appearance and the disgusting anti-immigrant rhetoric of his campaign.
Many protesters held signs; others merely stood side by side in solidarity. With police patrolling the area keeping people out of the street, the protesters and attendees remained separated, with no reports of any physical altercations between the two groups.
Protester Tania Fonseca said what made her want to participate in the demonstration was the fact that Trump was making his campaign stop at a public high school.
“It was not a good idea to have him here,” Fonseca said. “The event could have been hosted elsewhere. It is disappointing to me because my tax dollars go to support the school.”
Student protesters decided to wear blue arm ribbons to show the crowd they came to represent the younger population that opposes Trump.
“I disagree with most of what Donald Trump says,” said Jonathan Yepez, another protester. “Most of us [Latinos] who come here come to work and not cause problems.”
Inside the Trump event, an announcement asked rallygoers to refrain from attacking protesters, no doubt in response to the many, many attacks Latinos, immigrants, Muslim-Americans, and African-Americans have faced at the hands of his supporters.
Not that the request from the campaign has made much of a difference anyway. Case in point: at another Iowa rally on Sunday, a white Trump supporter threatened to physically assault a Sikh man who was peacefully protesting. The Sikh man’s fellow protester — a white man — was left alone.
— Matt Hildreth (@mhildreth) January 27, 2016
In addition to the protest outside, other Latinos entered the gymnasium to disrupt Trump with shouts of: “Latinos united will never be divided!” Trump, who garnered headlines at the event for announcing that he would not appear in Thursday’s Republican debate because of disagreements with host Fox News, smiled as the protesters were ushered out, telling one of them, “Enjoy yourself, darling.”
Advocates have noted Trump’s rhetoric has mobilized Iowa Latinos in an unprecedented manner, launching caucus trainings and voter registration drives, including the one organized by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and and Immigrant Allies following the Trump event last night.
— Christian Ucles (@daakardior) January 27, 2016
Similar naturalization and voter registration efforts inspired by Trump’s bigotry are happening in key battleground states like Nevada, as noted in this must-read profile by Buzzfeed’s Adrian Carrasquillo.
“There is talk of a “Trump effect” rivaling Proposition 187, the anti-illegal-immigration measure that jolted California Latinos to action 20 years ago and is credited with helping create the state’s current Latino power structure,” noted the LA Times.
“My gut is that it’ll be substantial,” Democratic consultant Bill Carrick said of Latino turnout in November. “They have been activated.”
“I’m really glad we got to empower the students to take the anger and frustration and channel it into further civic engagement,” said Joa LaVille, president of Immigrant Allies.