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Immigrant Groups Rally Around Country as Message to Trump

From California to Washington, D.C., Arizona to Wisconsin, immigration activists are holding protests aimed at soon-to-be-sworn-in-as-president Donald Trump.

Immigration groups and various other supporters have planned some 70 events for Saturday “to send a clear pro-immigration message to the incoming administration and rally for immigration rights,” the groups say.

“We need to protect our communities and let Trump and everyone against us know that we are ready to fight back,” said Julio Calderon, who works in higher education for undocumented immigrants at the Florida Immigrant Coalition. The coalition of 62 organizations plans a protest with about 10 other groups.

Image: A women holds an American flag while protesting outside Trump Tower during a demonstration organized by the New York Immigration Coalition against President-elect Donald Trump in the Manhattan borough of  New York
A women holds an American flag while protesting outside Trump Tower during a demonstration organized by the New York Immigration Coalition against President-elect Donald Trump in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., December 18, 2016. DARREN ORNITZ / Reuters

Trump is to be sworn in as president next Friday.

More than 3,000 people from 20 different organizations are expected to participate in the "We're Here to Stay" rally at the historic Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, D.C., including national leaders and legislators. Groups include CASA, which serves a large number of Central American families in the D.C.and Maryland area.

One of the groups participating is the National Korean American Service & Education Commission.

“We deserve the respect and the right to live in this country. It will be a symbolic day for the immigrant community but also for this country,” said Dae Joong Yoon, NAKASEC executive director.

There are about 1.3 million Koreans in the U.S. and about 192,000 or 15 percent to 18 percent are undocumented, according to Yoon.

Los Angeles has the largest community of Koreans outside the Korean peninsula.

In Los Angeles, a rally that includes musical and arts performances is planned. Elected officials also are expected to participate.

“The community right now is in shock and we don’t know what exactly the new administration will do in terms of its immigration policy,” said Jorge Mario Cabrera, a spokesman for Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

“This is the first of what will be many messages in support of immigrants (and in suppport of) anti-phobia, anti-immigrant sentiment,” he said.

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Mi Familia Vota (MFV), a civic organization that advocates on issues that impact the Latino community, is leading or sponsoring events in Tucson, Fresno, San Jose, Los Angeles, Denver, Las Vegas, Houston, and Dallas.

Anna Castro Argueta, MFV spokeswoman, said many Latino immigrant community members are anxious about what a new administration will look like and what it will do. “This shows our community that we are here to show up for them,” she said.

“We have the right to hold elected officials accountable. For us this is one day of what will be the beginning of building Latino political power in 2017,” she said.

In Arizona, organizers are hoping to gather enough protesters for a march to the Capitol and a vigil in Phoenix.

The fear created when Arizona enacted one of the toughest immigration laws in the country at the time, SB1070, remains fresh in the community as does what it took to fight the law.

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"Here in Arizona we have seen what SB1070 can do and we have learned a lot from those times, we see this as the same thing,” said Cristian Avila, national civic engagement coordinator for MFV.

"As you can imagine, we are not going to sit around and just let any DACA repeal happen without organizing and mobilizing legal advisory to help DACA recipients through our coalition,” Avila said. DACA is the program President Barack Obama authorized through executive action to allow young immigrants without legal status who were brought to the U.S. as children to stay and work.

"We will continue to help with citizenship efforts with the hope that they come out to vote and continue to grow, so that elected officials realize and pay attention to the issues that matter to us,” Avila said.

Additional reporting by NBC Latino contributor Stephen Nuño.

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