Olive Davis holds a protest sign during the rally on the Springfield City Hall Plaza protesting the immigration ban and the southern border wall Saturday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Wall, travel ban prompt protest in Springfield

At least 100 people rallied outside of Republican Congressman Warren Davidson’s downtown Springfield office Saturday at 2 p.m. to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order that temporarily bars citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from traveling to the U.S. and the proposed Mexican border wall.

Protesters chanted slogans such as “no wall, no ban” and “Muslim rights are human rights.”

The rally was inspired by the national Indivisible movement, which aims to provide tactics and techniques in political activism for local grassroots movements.

“We’re out here now mainly to protest the wall and immigration ban because we think it is un-American,” said Pamela Dixon, who helped coordinate the demonstration. “Immigrants and refugees are enriching our community, we need to be welcoming to that because that is what America is all about.”

Speakers included local residents and community leaders who addressed the crowd about unity and the need for understanding.

“I ask you to seek out someone who views the world differently than you,” Clark County resident Sana Ahmed told the crowd. “Build an understanding with one another, we should not let our differences lead to hate.”

Another speaker, Avery Sledge, a pastor at Highlands United Church of Christ, believes these policies go against her faith.

“Our congregation is very much into social justice issues and these are social justice issues that we identify with,” said Avery. “God admonishes us to show hospitality to all people because we have all been aliens somewhere at some point.”

The crowd also protested Davidson’s support for Trump’s executive order.

“We want Rep. Davidson to know that we are here and that he needs to represent all the citizens in his district,” said Dixon.

Davidson stated in a press release that he supported the Trump administration’s pause on allowing refugees from so-called terrorist hot spots.

“The administration’s pause on allowing refugees from terrorist strongholds is a common sense solution in the effort to protect American citizens.” Davidson said.

Attendees claimed they will continue to protest until the executive order is overturned.

“We are not going to stop,” said Fernando Romero, who immigrated to the country from El Salvador in 1991. “I thought we were progressing but unfortunately we are taking many steps back.”

Davidson did not attend. Nor did any member of his staff. However, his office released a statement regarding the demonstration, saying Davidson strongly supports First Amendment rights.

Friday, James Robart, a federal judge in Seattle, suspended Trump’s executive order, issuing a restraining order against the immigration restrictions. The Justice Department said it would ask for an emergency stay to honor the order.

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