Immigrant advocates rally outside Trump event

Posted: Updated:
BETHPAGE -

Protesters gathered ahead of President Donald Trump's visit to Bethpage on Wednesday.

Immigrant advocacy group Make the Road New York staged the #UnitedAgainstHate rally outside the Morrelly Homeland Security Center, where Trump led a roundtable discussion on the MS-13 gang.

The group says Trump's appearance further escalated his attempts to dehumanize and criminalize immigrants.

"The way that Donald Trump speaks about immigrants, I think it is totally racist, and this is one of the civil rights issues of our time," said Anita Fauling, of Baldwin.

Trump supporters gathered across from the anti-Trump protesters. Some said people should thank the president for making communities safer by fighting gangs such as MS-13.

"He's the president, he can say what he wants," said Mark Kaiser, of North Babylon. "Sometimes you just gotta hear it how it is."

Some protesters claim the president uses the fear of gang violence to attack immigrants.

"He stands for divisiveness," said Baldwin's Rhonda Eisenberg. "I think he's anti-immigration."

But supporters like Virginia Daly say that's untrue. She says she believes the president is all for legal immigration, done how her grandparents came to the U.S.

"They came here and they worked hard," said Daly, of Long Beach. "There was no handouts. Nobody gave them anything. They worked hard for everything they had."

At the crowd's peak around 12 p.m., there were as many as two dozen Trump supporters and about three times as many protesters.

Make the Road New York held a rally Tuesday on the steps of the Nassau County Legislature.

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