Students build a wall at the University of Illinois
CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, Ill. (WCCU) —
One by one, students with Turning Point USA constructed cardboard boxes with pictures of people they say were victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.
"So this wall is really meant to not advocate for any policy per se, but to be a memorial, a shrine for these victims that were fallen by murders or avoidable actions that could have been caused if illegal immigrants were not in the country,” Turning Point USA member Joel Valdez said.
It didn't go unnoticed. As soon as the group started building the wall, silent protesters came to block it. Those students wouldn't talk on camera because it was a silent protest.
Minority groups on campus set up tents near the wall, in their own form of protest, selling cultural food and drinks.
"It was a bit kind of intimidating to just like come and see and kind of realize that there's a lot of people that think bad of certain things or like don't go by what you think,” sophomore Elida Roman said.
Although their viewpoints couldn't be further apart, the two groups did stand by each other peacefully this afternoon. U of I police were on standby at the start of the demonstration.
"We just want to highlight the failures of sanctuary city laws,” Valdez said. “Turning Point USA is not anti-immigrant, we're anti-illegal immigration, at least some of the members of the organization are. This is just to highlight the victims that have fallen by illegal immigrants."
Students walking by said they were surprised to hear about the demonstration but were just glad it was peaceful.
"I believe this country was founded by immigrants, whether they're illegal or not, the process is difficult and I think those people deserve to be treated like human beings,” junior Alex Nemah said.