By John Burton
MIDDLETOWN – Local supporters of President Donald J. Trump plan on having their voices heard.
The Bayshore Tea Party Group, the local chapter of the national politically conservative movement, is working with the alt-right news website Breitbart News, organizing two rallies in the township.
“The silent majority is here,” offering its support for Trump’s policies in general and his immigration policies specifically, said Barbara Gonzalez, one of the Bayshore group’s founders who is organizing the rallies.
According to Gonzalez, the events are scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, and noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 3. They will be held on the corner of Route 35 and Harmony Road, in the area of the ShopRite shopping plaza.
The Feb. 27 rally is intended as a warm-up to encourage participants to attend a meeting of the Red Bank Human Relations Committee, which is expected to take up the concept of a “sanctuary city” and its role in Red Bank. The Tea Party group will be voicing their opposition of that designation, of offering undocumented immigrants some sort of sanctuary from federal enforcement.
The purpose of the rallies, Gonzalez explained, is to show that, “Just because we don’t go out and yell and wear funny hats with parts of the anatomy on it and break windows, it doesn’t mean we’re not paying attention and are not outraged at certain things.”
Gonzalez’s comments were referencing recent events since Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration, where large rallies and marches have occurred around the U.S. and in world capitals, at which people voiced opposition to and concern over the administration’s proposed policies, appointments and the president’s own comments.
“This is to show support for the president and what he wants to do regarding keeping us safe,” she said. The organization’s efforts are to show support for the controversial immigration travel ban. “And it has nothing to do with immigrants and has everything to do with illegal criminal immigrants,” Gonzalez added.
Trump’s executive order signed Jan. 27 attempted to halt all immigration from Syria, Iran, Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Libya and Sudan, predominately Muslim countries that have been alleged to harbor militant extremists; and establish a 120-day prohibition against all refugee entrance to the U.S. The executive order was placed on hold by a federal district court judge, with the stay upheld by the federal Court of Appeals; its future is uncertain but it continues to arouse heated debates and protests.
But Gonzalez continued to stress, “It’s important for people to understand it’s not against immigration; it’s what our country is made of. People are from everywhere and that’s OK. But it has to be legal,” believing the prohibition is intended to prevent undocumented immigration and the admitting of possibly dangerous individuals to the country.
The Bayshore Tea Party Group had initially intended to hold a rally Saturday, Feb. 11. But organizers became aware of efforts by Breitbart to coordinate with local organizations for a nationwide series of events, according to Gonzalez.
Still, a handful of members of the local group took it upon themselves to gather with signs last Saturday for their own rally, she said.
Gonzalez said she has been getting emails from people around the area who are interested in attending. So far, she said as many as 100 are planning to attend.
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