Rally held at USM Gulf Park Campus in opposition of immigration policies

Rally held at USM Gulf Park Campus in opposition of immigration policies

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Several groups gathered together on the USM Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach Tuesday night for what they called a "No ban, No wall" rally.

A group of about 50 people showed their disapproval of how President Trump is handling immigration. Laurie Anne Manchester of Diamondhead said immigration reform is needed, but she'd like to see a more compassionate approach.

"These are our neighbors. These are the people that rebuilt our communities after Katrina," Manchester said. "So let's not treat them like they're somehow not wanted. It's a really bad place we're in right now as a country of immigrants."

Melinda Medina was speaking out against the proposed wall on the U.S. - Mexico border. She said a wall would divide two cultures, both cultures she considers her self to be a part of.

"It's a symbol of hatred and segregation," Medina said. "Like, stay on your side, you're not welcome here. That, to me, is wrong."

Police prepared for a counter protest and set up barricades. On the other side of the barricades was a group that traveled from Louisiana calling themselves the Louisiana Patriot Militia. Michael McComas said he made the trip not to protest, but to help keep peace.

"Whatever they want to protest is their Constitutional right to protest," McComas said. "I'm only here to just make peace, to make sure there is peace, make sure there's no rioting or fighting and nothing against our police force. They've got enough on their hands to deal with."

There were no signs of conflict during the rally. Many participants said they would be glad to talk with people who may disagree with them to try and find common ground.

"I suggest that we sit down at the table and work together, which doesn't seem to be where we are right now," Manchester said.

The groups that organized the rally are making a trip to Jackson on Wednesday. They're planning to meet with state lawmakers about a proposed bill in the Legislature that would prohibit the establishment of sanctuary cities in Mississippi.

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