May 1, 2017 at 8:15 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Immigrant, workers rights advocates march to White House

Thousands of immigrants and workers rights advocates marched from Dupont Circle to Lafayette Square on May 1, 2017. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Thousands of people marched to the White House on Monday in support of immigrant and workers rights.

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez and U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) are among those who sharply criticized President Trump’s immigration policies during a rally that took place in Lafayette Square.

Staffers from the Human Rights Campaign and the National LGBTQ Task Force are among those who attended the event that CASA de Maryland and the Service Employees International Union co-organized. Casa Ruby CEO Ruby Corado, who immigrated to the U.S. from El Salvador in the 1980s, joined hundreds of people who marched from Mount Pleasant to the White House.

The rally is among the more than 100 such events that took place across the U.S. on May Day.

Stacey Long Simmons, director of advocacy and action at the National LGBTQ Task Force, and a handful of her colleagues marched from Dupont Circle to Lafayette Square.

She pointed out to the Washington Blade that a quarter of a million LGBT people in the U.S. are undocumented. Simmons also accused the Trump administration of “advancing a racist agenda of hate” that includes anti-LGBT policies.

“We are really fed up with the amount of discrimination that’s been pouring out of this White House and this administration,” she told the Blade. “We really care about people and the fact that they’re not being treated with their full dignity and respect.”

‘We want to demand accountability from’ Trump administration

Trump on Jan. 25 signed two executive orders that spur construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and the reduction in federal funding to so-called “sanctuary cities” that protect undocumented immigration.

The president two days later signed another executive order that suspended the issuance of visas to people from seven predominantly Muslim countries — Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya — for 90 days and ends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days. The mandate also indefinitely banned Syrian refugees from entering the U.S.

A revised travel ban that Trump issued in March does not include Iraq. The executive order has not taken effect because it remains under court order.

Federal agents in February deported Juan Manuel Montes, a 23-year-old man from Mexico who arrived in the U.S. when he was a child. Montes is a “Dreamer” who was protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that President Obama created in 2012.

The arrest of an undocumented transgender woman inside a courthouse in El Paso, Texas, in February after she received a protective order against her ex-boyfriend sparked outrage among immigrant rights advocates and their supporters.

“Donald Trump is someone who really, clearly does not care about the vulnerable,” Simmons told the Blade. “We’re here because we want to demand accountability from this administration. We’re not going to stop marching until we get justice for everyone.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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