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Immigration advocates use Biden's visit to San Diego to call for policy change

Immigration rights advocates gather in Chicano Park, San Diego, March 10, 2023.
Alexander Nguyen
Immigration rights advocates gather in Chicano Park, San Diego, March 10, 2023.

Days before President Joe Biden's visit to San Diego, local immigration groups rallied at Chicano Park. They demanded his administration drop Trump-era policies like Title 42, which aims to stop the spread of diseases such as COVID-19 by preventing people from crossing the border.

“We’re seeing his anti-asylum laws mirror what President Trump did before him," said Pedro Rios from the American Friends Service Committee. "They’re causing grave danger and harm to those that are seeking safety and attempting to file for asylum here in the United States.”

Immigration advocates also fear that family detention may be reinstated. And they said want to see Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) scrapped altogether.


Karen Plascencia’s father was picked up by ICE when she was a child. She said she still lives with the trauma.

“I remember it was payday and our rent was due, and he just never came home," she said. “We spent days looking for him in terror not knowing if he had been kidnapped, if he'd been in an accident, calling hospitals, trying to find him and he had been deported."

Another area of frustration is the border wall in Friendship Park. Construction has started up again, despite Biden’s promise not to build anymore walls.

“It’s a border hate wall that desecrated our sacred piece of land,” said Robert Vivar from nonprofit Friends of Friendship Park. “The only piece of land where our families that have been separated by our broken immigration system can continue to be a family."

Wage trafficking and poor living conditions among immigrant communities were also highlighted during the rally.


Kenza Idrissi’s said her parents moved here from Morocco to give her a better future. She wants Biden to know how tough everyday life can be for immigrants.

“It really is an insult to who I am, what my parents came here for,” she said. “They came for a prosperous life and raised their children so they can go onto higher education, get a good job, fuel this economy, fuel this country, but I think this is an insult.”