Protest for Illegal Aliens in Lawrence Closes
Downtown Area Despite Promises Not to Do So
By: Tom Duggan – May, 2017
Last week a rally was held in Lawrence in support of illegal aliens on the same day as the communist holiday May Day. Attending the rally and distributing literature were the fascist organization ANTIFA which masquerades itself as an “anti-fascist” activist group.
About 400-500 people crowded on the Campagnone Common in North Lawrence banging drums and shouting slogans like “Education not deportation” and held signs insulting people who disagree with them as “racist”. The event was also partially organized by the social Justice Warrior training organization Lawrence Community Works, which does operate with taxpayer money.
Standing on stage at the rally was Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera, and below the stage were Lawrence City Councilors and was even attended by State Senator Barbara L’Italien, State Rep. Juana Mattias, and former Lawrence Mayor Willie Lantigua.
We asked Lawrence Mayor Rivera why he was attending a rally in support of citizens of other governments when he was elected by the citizens of the US government to represent them. VIDEO HERE
“I’m here to celebrate the immigrant culture in Lawrence that we have always had.
TOM: “I have no idea what that means, what does ‘immigrant culture’ mean.”
Rivera: “I think it means what you think it might mean.”
TOM: “I don’t think you want to know what I think it means quite frankly.”
RIVERA: “Lawrence has always had Italian community, an Irish community, and I’m here to show support. Some people feel scared. Some have no reason to be scared. This is not a Spanish people thing.”
TOM: “They have billed this as a rally to support ‘immigrants’ but we all know what this really is. It’s a rally to support illegal aliens, you can see all of it on all the signs that are here. What do you think about that?”
RIVERA: “I think the federal government has failed immensely for not setting up a policy that deals with this stuff. So, I’m looking forward to see what the policies are going to be for this administration. And I’m not saying it’s this administration. The Obama administration failed at it. I think the last time we had a comprehensive immigration policy was under Reagan. If we are going to get serious about this stuff, the federal government should get back into the game.”
TOM: Is Lawrence a sanctuary city?”
RIVERA: “Lawrence is a “Trust Act” city.”
TOM: “What does that mean?”
RIVERA: “It means if you do everything right, and you are undocumented you are not going to get reported to ICE (for deportation) if you are just going to work everyday [staying out of trouble].”
“But if you are a criminal and you are undocumented you are going to be reported to ICE. We’ve done it six times since we became an “ACT” community. We deported people involved in the heroin trade, people involved in violence, we report them all to ICE. Lawrence is not a safe haven for criminals.”
TOM: Don’t you think you need to publicize that more? People think Lawrence is a sanctuary city and the criminals hear that and they drain right into Lawrence.”
RIVERA: “You know I agree with you, this thing about Lawrence being a sanctuary city. If you do something bad and you have to be fingerprinted for it, ICE will know right away that you are here.
TOM: “So, the Lawrence Police are indeed working with ICE to deport criminals?”
RIVERA: “Yes, criminals, listen, if somebody is here undocumented, say they are a dishwasher in Andover or Methuen, and they are driving without a license, and they are stopped they will tow the car. They will give them a ticket for driving without a license. But, that’s not something anybody goes to jail for. They don’t get fingerprinted. So, that person is not going to be deported to ICE because there’s no fingerprinting and there’s no checking them in the system.”
“Now, say you have somebody else who does something and they get fingerprinted, and they are doing something really bad, ICE knows right away.”
“But, here’s the dirty little secret though, Tommy. ICE doesn’t have the bodies to actually deal with these people. So, let’s say we get somebody like that. ICE will know about it and they might not even come get them. So, unless we’ve got a case against them, and you can ask the chief about this, if we have a case against them because we caught them with drugs, or let’s say we catch someone fighting and we fingerprint them, that’s not usually something we put someone in jail for, but they are fingerprinted and we find out this is a person wanted for illegal drugs. If the ICE won’t come get them we can’t hold them.”
The Valley Patriot also ran into Lawrence City Council President Kendrys Vasquez marching with the protesters on Essex St. and asked him why he was there and if he supported illegal aliens staying in the country?
Vasquez: “I will not use the term illegal aliens.”
TOM: “OK you want to play word games fine, citizens of other governments who are here illegally…”
Vasquez: “Undocumented immigrants are providing to this country and are also taxpayers as you know. Many of them have lived in this country for the majority of their life which means they are also part of this country.”
TOM: “What about those who commit crimes?”
Vasquez: “They should leave. I do think anyone committing crimes needs to be deported.”
After the protest march that shut down the city’s downtown we asked Vasquez about the promise organizers made at a city council meeting while applying for the permit that they would stay on the sidewalk.
Despite their promise from protest organizers that they would not impede traffic and would not be on the streets, protesters marched anyways, and did so with the help of Lawrence Police who shut down intersections throughout the downtown. Protesters marched up Common Street to Union St., then down Essex St. to Broadway and then up Haverhill Street back to the Campagnone Common.
We asked Council President Vasquez if it bothered him that he was given a promise by the organizers of the protest that they would stay on the sidewalks, but then shut down at least 16 city blocks of city for their march.
“The police department was present and they had a system to get a flow and get people moving as fast as possible,” Vasuez said.
“But you have a valid point.”
Tom: “They came before you [the city council] and promised they would stay on the sidewalk. They didn’t. As the council president I would think you would be unhappy about that and actually doing something about it. If this was the Italian Feast or let’s say it was a rally AGAINST illegal aliens, I’m pretty sure the council would be really unhappy about that. But because you guys support the cause it’s no problem? It was a condition of them getting the permit.
Vasquez: I am not disagreeing either. You have a valid point.
For the record the City Council has done nothing about the illegality of the march. As a side note there was no violence at this rally and all who participated were respectful and orderly.