Federally Funded Groups Take Part In Anti-Trump May Day Rallies

Chuck Ross | Reporter

Several organizations that receive federal funds to help permanent residents obtain citizenship in order to vote took part in Los Angeles’ May Day rallies, where voting against Donald Trump was the theme.

A group called the May Day Coalition organized the event, which was held in downtown Los Angeles and attended by thousands of activists, many of whom carried signs denouncing the GOP front-runner. One group even toted a blow-up of the real estate billionaire holding a KKK hood.

“We want to send a united message that immigrants, people of color and workers are fighting back against hate,” reads a description of the event, which was one of many held in major cities across the U.S. to commemorate International Workers’ Day.

As Trump inches closer and closer to the GOP nomination, activist groups have ramped up their efforts to turn out immigrant voters, many of whom hold green cards but have not taken steps to become citizens. (RELATED: Obama Admin Funds Blitz To Naturalize Anti-Trump Voters)

The groups oppose Trump’s restrictive stance on immigration and worry about his proposal to complete a wall on the southern border. 

“His hate cannot trump our vote,” Rusty Hicks, an organizer with the AFL-CIO, said at Sunday’s event

“So while he wants to round up people for mass deportation we’re going to round up votes and send him back to the Trump Towers and not to the White House, right?” he asked the crowd, which was filled with “Dump Trump” signs. 

“We’re ready to march? We’re ready to vote? We’re ready to organize?”

The main organizer of Sunday’s event is the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), a group that in 2014 received $250,000 from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to help immigrants from Mexico and El Salvador complete the citizenship registration process.

CHIRLA, which is still listed on USCIS’ website as a citizenship services provider, was heavily involved in Sunday’s protests.

A blogger with the Hollywood-based Near Chaos Blog recorded one CHIRLA organizer leading activists in an anti-Trump chant.

Two other groups that currently receive USCIS grants took part in the May Day event.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ) and Central American Resource Center of Los Angeles (CARECEN) both received the $250,000 subsidies in 2015 to help sign green card holders up for citizenship. (RELATED: Obama Admin Funds Blitz To Naturalize Anti-Trump Voters)

CARECEN’s executive director, Martha Arevalo, was also front-and-center at the rally.

“Today we fight for justice and we say no to hate,” she told the crowd, reminding them that the California primary is just around the corner.

“Don’t forget there’s much more work to be done in June,” she said.

It is unclear if CARECEN and AAAJ violated their agreements with the federal government by outwardly opposing a presidential candidate.

Other non-profit groups — such as Fight for $15, the group seeking to raise the minimum wage — also helped organize the event. Radical organizations were also involved.

Black Lives Matter’s Southern California chapter helped organize the event. So did the Coalition for Community Control Over the Police, an activist group that calls for the prosecution of “killer cops.”

The Party of Communists USA also took part in the event.

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