Action group holds vigil in support of immigrants

ST. GEORGE — Dozens of people gathered Friday evening at Vernon Worthen Park in St. George for a candlelight vigil in a show of support for immigrants in the Southern Utah area.

Members of Action St. George meet for a candlelight vigil in solidarity with immigrants, St. George, Utah, Feb. 17, 2017 | Photo by Brett Barrett, St. George News

Action St. George, a nonpartisan political action group organized by Dixie State University professor Dr. Kathryn Mederos Syssoyeva, held the vigil for solidarity with immigrants, refugees and foreign students.

Members of the group, which originated on Facebook and has over 200 members, gathered in the park’s gazebo to hear each other’s stories and talk about what kind of action can be taken against what the group refers to as “the building assault on immigrant rights.”

See video in the media player top of this report.

“As a group we have come together very rapidly in response to President Trump’s win,” Syssoyeva said.

Recent executive orders by President Donald Trump, such as the travel restriction placed on seven Middle Eastern countries, have put immigrant and refugee communities on high alert.

“Suddenly there’s this recognition that there is a shared feeling in the community that there are many things which many people, regardless of political affiliation, find egregious in the policies of the current administration,” Syssoyeva said. “So, we’re looking for those points of focus that bring us together to stand up and assist.”

“Here in the southwest, in St. George specifically, we have a particular concern for Latino immigrants because that is our largest immigrant population locally,” Syssoyeva said.

There were many people present at the vigil from the area’s Hispanic community who expressed their fears resulting from recent political rhetoric about rounding up immigrants and building a wall on the Mexican border.

“If we’re going to look at the fears of our local community,” Syssoyeva said, “we’re going to have to factor in the fears of our Latino community.”

Information in Spanish was made available to those in attendance.

An Iraqi refugee preferring to go by the name David speaks to supporters at a candlelight vigil organized by Action St. George, St. George, Utah, Feb. 17, 2017 | Photo by Brett Barrett, St. George News

The group’s makeup was diverse, with people hailing from a wide variety of backgrounds, including one man who recently relocated to St. George from Iraq seeking asylum.

Simply preferring to go by the name David, the man came from the country’s Kurdistan region and is a Yazidi ethnic minority. In the years since ISIS declared war in Iraq, the Yazidi people have suffered immensely with widespread genocide and kidnappings.

David’s family is still in a refugee camp with what he described as “no hope” for joining him in the U.S.

“I would like to come to them to raise our voice as an immigrant,” David said in reference to his attendance at the event, “especially as the only Yazidi in Utah.”

David said he felt extremely isolated in the seven months since his arrival in the U.S. before finding some solace in the workings and support of Action St. George.

“For many of us, there is a concern that this isn’t going to stop with immigrant communities,” Syssoyeva said, “that this could extend to targeting many groups of people.”

The vigil also included people with Jewish backgrounds, as well as members of the LGBT community.

Syssoyeva expressed concern for what she perceived to be a growing trend toward open anti-Semitism and homophobia, topics the group plans to also address.

“I think there is a sense that we don’t know what this means and where it stops and we must be vigilant in guarding our community civil liberties and guarding our democratic principles and that is a community concern anywhere, it seems to me,” Syssoyeva said, noting that Action St. George is just one of a network of national organizations with similar goals.

Resources:

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

 

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

30 Comments

  • Common Sense February 19, 2017 at 7:59 am

    uhhhh…if you are here legally then there is nothing to worry about. I am sorry their countries have so many terrible things going on but that is not America’s fault. America is the ONLY country that opens it’s arms to so many immigrants and GIVES. Our country literally gives them tax payer money that they have no right to. Why is it relevant to even mention that some have Jewish backgrounds or are from the LGBT community? I guess I don’t understand what these dozen of people are trying to accomplish.

    • rhplace February 19, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      Obviously you all have completely missed the point. This isn’t just about those immigrants who are here (whether legal or illegal). This is about the underlying governmental policies (based on the dreadful philosophy known as eugenics) that is contaminated with racism, sexism, xenophobia, bigotry, and all manner of hatred.

      “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.
      Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
      Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.
      Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me” – Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

      We need to dismantle all immoral and unethical laws. Just because something is “illegal” doesn’t make it right.

      • comments February 19, 2017 at 8:24 pm

        Why don’t you go live in the Congo for a year then come back and lecture us about eugenics and racism and xenophobia. Think of all the diversity you will be enriched with in the Congo.

    • comments February 19, 2017 at 8:32 pm

      “Why is it relevant to even mention that some have Jewish backgrounds or are from the LGBT community?”

      People from these groups have a record of being very very pro immigration and pro open borders, which doesn’t make a lot of sense when it comes to importing muslims, because often muslims are extremely intolerant of both groups. There has been a massive rise in antisemitism in Europe because of the massive armies of millions of muslim men that European countries have allowed in.

  • Craig February 19, 2017 at 8:03 am

    Supporting immigrants is great. Supporting illegal aliens is criminal.

  • .... February 19, 2017 at 8:25 am

    My favorite part of all this is that Bob the bigots ancestors are all immigrants lmao and most of them illegally but you won’t hear Bob mention that. .

    • Real Life February 19, 2017 at 9:39 am

      Go back to sleep party boy.

  • Brad February 19, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Dixie State University professor Dr. Kathryn Mederos Syssoyeva needs to uphold the Laws of this country. Immigrants from all countries could be a legitimate debate when it comes to entering the USA. With the proper vetting and proper Visa/Passport issuance, I don’t think President Trump has an issue with this. Supporting Illegals that cross into our borders illegally, should be a crime in it’s self. So our Professor at our local University will jeopardize the reputation of a great school to support persons who have broken the law of our country by entering it illegally and using the tax payers money to survive? Keep in mind Mrs. Syssoyeva, President Trump is just upholding the law that hasn’t been enforced in many years. So as far as I’m concerned, if a person who enters our great country illegally, have NO rights and should be exported ASAP.

  • Henry February 19, 2017 at 10:30 am

    A “nonpartisan” group with a guy holding a large sign that says, “Impeach Trump”. LOL

  • comments February 19, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    Well, it actually pisses me off what our corrupt, evil politicians and elitists have done to parts of the middle east. Let’s never forget that Obongo and Hillary armed and funded ISIS terrorist muslims. So I feel sorry for this Yazidi guy.

    But it’s time for all you illegals to go home, and hopefully all the anchor babies as well. Of course your anchor babies will be able to come back later on, and there’s nothing we can do about that. Hopefully when they come back it won’t be to traffic drugs. As far as all of you supporters of illegal aliens WE SHOULD SHIP ALL OF YOU TO THE CONGO ASAP. YOU WANT MULTICULTURALISM YOU WILL GO TO THE CONGO, NO ANDS IFS OR BUTS! GO AND ENRICH THE CONGO WITH YOUR DIVERSITY.

  • Utahguns February 19, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Joseph Witham the author is treading on the same thin ice as CNN, CBS, ABC, MSNBC and other liberal media perveyors of barely-true reporting.
    Why don’t you report on the population’s disgust with violent, ignorant liberals? We are sick and tired of the pouting, cry-baby attitude of these lily-livered, limp-wristed snowflakes who don’t want America to be great again.
    Why don’t you report on all the Hollywood liberals that promised to move to Canada after President Trumps victory and let us know:
    1. Which moving companies they’re using or 2. how many cardboard boxes they’re using or 3. when they’re officially out of the U.S.?
    Why don’t you do an investigation into Soros’ paid protestor program, or the corruption of liberal run cities that possess high crime rates with high infestations of illegal aliens?

    You say “dozens” of people participated in this vigil? To me looks like about half of what would show up in the morning when Deseret Industries opens their doors.

    The St. George News is probably one of the last Utah news organizations that works to report fairly and accurately, but, after this article, I’m having my doubts….

    • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic February 19, 2017 at 2:07 pm

      Issues surrounding immigration at any point in the process legal or otherwise are many, Utahguns, no argument there. They are relevant and current and we can look closer at them. This report, though, simply relates an event that was held in St. George, it’s not trying to or purporting to do anything more or less than relate the event.

      I confess I am taking your bait, and I’m glad to do so. I hope this helps.

      ST. GEORGE NEWS
      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor in Chief

      • Henry February 19, 2017 at 3:42 pm

        The Associated Press stories (particularly those written by Julie Pace) that the St George News carries usually have a definite undertone to them. Not surprising, given the WikiLeaks email revelations.

        The news articles by the St George News have been very even-handed and generally very well written. The STG News opinion articles are obviously designed to illicit responses, to which I admit I too often fall prey. LOL

    • comments February 19, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      Yea, Utahgun I think ur overreacting a bit. I’ve never seen stg news push any sort of politcal agenda. Its hard to cover both sides of issues 100% equally, but agenda driven “fake news” like the MSM is getting harder for them to disguise.

      • comments February 19, 2017 at 2:35 pm

        Referreing to MSM trying to disguise themselves as non-agenda driven, that is.

    • rhplace February 19, 2017 at 3:23 pm

      Actually as one who was there, “dozens” is an accurate description of the attendance.

      A suggestion…perhaps you should actually check your opinion and your “alternative facts” before posting such a one-sided and obviously bigoted opinion?

      • comments February 19, 2017 at 8:20 pm

        woulda been a good opportunity for an ICE roundup, LOL

      • mesaman February 19, 2017 at 9:24 pm

        Looking at the photos I would hope they posted a disclaimer; “Warning, some of the adults you see here may frighten children or the mentally immature”.

  • utahdiablo February 19, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    Get in line, come here legally….our get out…. Real law and order is coming very soon…

  • Whatasin February 19, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    Its sad to read racist Trump supporters that have lack of compassion for human beings. I find it hard to believe anyone here would think that immigrants leave their families and home and the very little they have behind because their children will get killed or forced to be in cartel gangs and little girls are raped while their parents are shot or beheased in front of them. They work the corps and the jobs that Americans don’t want and work long hours for minium wage and there are taken advantage by employers that don’t pay them or even give them overtime pay. They take taxes from their paychecks and owners pocket it instead of paying into employers taxes. So don’t think that immigrants have it made here like the Utahans. In fact, let’s see how many Americans will work the corps and clean hotel rooms, landscaping in the early morning hours in the freezing temperatures and hot summer days at over 100 degrees. Let’s see who will take the jobs in the factories standing 12 hours to 14 hours a day without breaks. Let’s see who will clean and mop the public restrooms and hospitals. Who will do the laundry services for the hotel and hospitals? Who will watch your children and clean your house for low wages? And you’re wrong, illegal immigrants can not file taxes or eligible for welfare like Americans that don’t care to work but only collect public assistance or get high on drugs. Yes it’s true! So before YOU blame an immigrant again, think….you righteous Utahan Dixie State Student, how that Pell grants and financial aid has paid your education (and you can say goodbye to those benefits because of Trump) and all you had to do was show you have low income to get Pell grants or perhaps your parents paid for it. So consider yourself lucky because you dont know how it’s really like to walk in immigrant sandles.

    • Whatasin February 19, 2017 at 11:55 pm

      Its sad to read racist Trump supporters that have lack of compassion for human beings. I find it hard to believe anyone here would think that immigrants leave their families and home and the very little they have behind because their children will get killed or forced to be in cartel gangs and little girls are raped while their parents are shot or beheaded in front of them. They work the corps and the jobs that Americans don’t want and work long hours for minium wage and they are taken advantage by employers that don’t pay their earnings or even pay the overtime they worked hard for. Employers take taxes from their paychecks and pocket it instead of paying into employers taxes. So don’t think immigrants have it made here like the some of us. In fact, let’s see how many Americans will work the corps and clean hotel rooms and taken advantage of by paying less or not at all! Lets see who can work the landscaping jobs early morning hours in the freezing temperatures and the hot summer days in over 100 degrees weather. Let’s see who will take the jobs in the factories standing 12 hours to 14 hours a day without breaks with 30 minute lunch. Let’s see who will clean and mop the public restrooms and hospitals grave yard shifts for $8.50 hourly. Who will do the laundry services for the hotel and hospitals on holidays and weekends with no time off. Who will watch your children and clean your house for low wages at $3.50 an hour. It’s not easy to work construction either, it’s hard heavy work which you may not be use to.
      In fact, the comments are wrong in so many ways because illegal immigrants can not file taxes or are eligible for welfare, like the majority of Americans that don’t care to find a job, but yet conservative republicans collect public assistance or find a way to get high on drugs instead of working the jobs immigrants do. Yes it’s true! So before YOU blame an immigrant again, and you may think you’re a righteous Utahan Dixie State Student, that your Pell grants and financial aid paid your education (and you can say bye bye to those benefits because of Trump)….cause all you had to do was show you make a low income to qualify for Pell grants or perhaps your parents paid for it. So consider yourself lucky because you dont know how it’s really like to walk in immigrant sandles.

      • comments February 20, 2017 at 11:15 am

        So essentially they are will to work as slaves for what amount to slave wages? How can US citizens compete with people who are willing to be slaves? What is the benefit to citizens of having wages driven down in every single sector that employs illegals. The children of illegals qualify for massive amounts of welfare and free health care and we pay to educate them (often having to hire bilingual teachers to teach the kids english). I don’t want slavery in America. Send home every single illegal and let’s start enforcing immigration laws. I get that the leftists want to save and welfare every single lost soul on the earth, but that’s a total fairy tale mentality. If you want to save lost souls and get enriched at the same time I suggest you take yourself to the Congo, along with the other leftists.

        • comments February 20, 2017 at 11:28 am

          That’s the thing about leftists is that they’d destroy us all including themselves just to try and prove to everyone how “virtuous” they are. It’s a mental disease. I’d suggest you educate yourself on the causes of extreme poverty in Mexico and central America, and realize the solution isn’t to just dump all those people into the US.

          • comments February 20, 2017 at 11:50 am

            And of course it isn’t just those 2 places. The leftists want to dump the contents of the entire 3rd world into the US including muslim jihadists. Really, where does it end? Does the US owe it to every struggling 3rd-worlder to allow them into the US and welfare them? What is the leftist vision of the future of the US? Why can’t there be solutions that keep all the struggling 3rd-worlders in their own nations? Why do we as US citizens owe it to the entire world? If leftists had to decide which specific groups to save which would they choose, as you cannot save and welfare the entire 3rd world? Why can’t leftists see the larger picture?

  • ladybugavenger February 20, 2017 at 9:31 am

    I don’t believe immigrants work at jobs that Americans won’t do. Correctly, immigrants (illegal) work and do jobs that Americans would do, but they do it for minimum wage.

    Americans can’t live on minimum wage! And that’s where we get “they are stealing our jobs” from. As long as illegals will work for cheap, Americans suffer.

    It’s ironic, my son is a gardener in Vegas. He’s white. And in the summer, they bring people over from Mexico with work Visa’s and pay them $4 more an hour than my son. We know it’s because my son is white that he gets paid a very low pay for the same job. Bless their hearts ?

    • comments February 20, 2017 at 11:18 am

      nailed it. it’s a race to the bottom

  • Whatasin February 23, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Five Reasons Why the U.S. Labor Force Needs Immigrants

    1. Despite an unemployment rate of 7.6 percent (March 2013), employers struggle to hire for certain positions with millions of jobs unfilled each month.[1]

    In the U.S., 49 percent of employers find it difficult to fill mission-critical positions—15 percentage points higher than the global average.[2]
    By 2018 more than 230,000 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) jobs requiring an advanced degree will not be filled even if every U.S.-born STEM grad finds a job.[3]
    Immigrants will be critical to filling future labor gaps, with 76 million baby boomers retiring and only 46 million U.S.-born workers entering the workforce by 2030.[4]
    2. Immigrants bring skill sets that are critical for the U.S. economy, especially in projected growth industries.

    Construction is projected to add 1.8 million jobs by 2020. [6] A study of Latino immigrant construction workers found that nearly 60 percent arrived in the U.S. with a deep and sophisticated knowledge of the trade. [5]
    The foreign born represent 25 percent of scientists and engineers in the United States.[7]
    Immigrants, although 13 percent of the U.S. population, make up 28 percent of the in-home health care workforce, with 1 in 5 direct care workers lacking documentation.[8]
    In recent years, immigrants have had higher labor force participation rates than people born in the United States, with 68 percent of immigrants participating in the labor force in 2012 versus 63 percent for the U.S. born.[9]
    3. The U.S. is in a global competition to attract and retain human capital.

    The U.S. only issues 15,000 more employment-based green cards than Australia does of its visa equivalent despite having 14 times the population.[10] Caps on immigration force 20,000 U.S.-educated students to leave the U.S. every year.[11]
    The U.S. is competing with countries such as Chile, which offers immigrants $40,000 in equity-free capital and a one-year visa to start a company. The Chilean program has drawn more than 1,600 applications from 70 countries, with U.S.-based applicants leading the way.[12]
    4. The U.S. population is aging and the potential of more unfilled jobs and talent shortages may impede economic growth.

    By 2030, the U.S. will need to add 25 million workers to the labor force to sustain current levels of economic growth.[13]
    Without immigrants, the U.S. will not have enough new workers to support retirees. Seventy years ago, there were 150 workers for every 20 seniors; 10 years ago, there were 100 workers per 20 seniors. By 2050, there will be only 56 workers for every 20 seniors.[14]
    Immigrants are vital for maintaining a strong workforce, with more than one-third of U.S. population growth attributed to the arrival of new immigrants.[15] By 2050, 93 percent of the growth of the U.S. working-age population will be accounted for by immigrants and their children.[16]
    Approximately 75 percent of the foreign-born labor force is comprised of workers in the vital 25- to 54-year-old category—10 percentage points higher than that for their U.S.-born counterparts.[17]
    5. Immigrants, with their language skills and international linkages, open new, global business and trade opportunities.

    Immigration boosts trade with a 10 percent increase in a country’s number of immigrants increasing the volume of trade by about 1.5 percent.[19]
    Every 100 H1-B visas issued results in 183 jobs created for U.S.-born workers, with every 100 H2-B (less skilled, nonagricultural) visas creating 464 additional jobs

  • Whatasin February 23, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    Don’t blame the immigrant workers! Blame the employers that hire them and pay them without the employer paying their share of federal tax and state tax and unemployment tax including not having workers compensation insurance! Employers do not follow the law so they don’t have to pay taxes and pay less wages to immigrant workers because they can get away with it or otherwise they will threat immigrant workers lives! Something that employers will not dare to do to a white employee. And to the lady that said her son works in landscaping in Nevada and gets paid less, maybe it’s because immigrants work long hours and harder and faster which it’s known that Latino workers are very loyal and work harder compared to Whites. There are some decent employers that do follow labor laws and treat immigrant workers with respect. After all they are human and have families with small children. They are nother taking your jobs away because believe me, once immigrants start leaving jobs that Americans won’t want to do, the country will start falling apart without the immigrant worker! Just look at what’s happening with the corps it’s rotting!!! Where are hard working Americans applying for those jobs?! Wait till we have to start paying the high prices for fruit to cover the high wages that will need to be paid out. I’m White and American and conservative republican and can’t believe that some the comments I read here the resolution for immigraton issues is to tear apart latino families and kick them out? Really? Fascinating!

  • Whatasin February 23, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    Don’t blame the immigrant workers! Blame the employers that hire them and pay them without the employer paying their share of federal tax and state tax and unemployment tax including not having workers compensation insurance! Employers do not follow the law so they don’t have to pay taxes and pay less wages to immigrant workers because they can get away with it or otherwise they will threat immigrant workers lives! Something that employers will not dare to do to a white employee. And to the lady that said her son works in landscaping in Nevada and gets paid less compared to Mexican Visa workers, your son should contact the labor board EEOC and file a discrimation claim so the employer can investigate or is it because immigrants work everyday without missing a day of work because they don’t call in sick or because they arrive to work on time and work long hours and harder and faster (which it’s known that Latino workers are very loyal and work harder compared to lazy American workers). Im not saying your son is not a good worker but he should talk to his employer and ask about the wage difference. However there are some decent respectful employers that do follow labor laws and treat immigrant workers with respect. After all they are human and have families with small children. They are nother taking your jobs away because believe me, once immigrants start leaving jobs that Americans won’t want to do, the country will start falling apart without the immigrant worker! Just look at what’s happening with the corps it’s rotting!!! Where are hard working Americans applying for those jobs?! Wait till we have to start paying the high prices for fruit to cover the high wages that will need to be paid out. I’m White and American and conservative republican and can’t believe that some the comments I read here the resolution for immigraton issues is to tear apart latino families and kick them out? Really? Fascinating!

  • whoabuddy March 4, 2017 at 5:04 am

    I must say I am heartened by so many of these comments..as a prospective new resident I see the vast majority here understand the importance of the wording this slithering creature uses in his deceptive article headline… .”.Action group holds vigil in support of immigrants”.. sounds nice right? Let’s look at each word’s definition shall we…

    1-Action Group-definition: a body formed to campaign politically, typically on a particular issue.
    2-Vigil-a period of keeping awake during the time usually spent asleep, especially to keep watch or pray.
    3-Immigrant-a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.

    My definitions….and most commenters here

    1-Action Group-radical leftists, Islamicisits, with a bent on self destruction, of the Obama mold (community organizer-don’t get me started!), nothing short of gansters who will decive, destroy and pray on those of you WHO DO NOT READ AND DIGEST THE MEANING OF THEIR WORDS, changers….they want to “transform” St George into an “inclusive commnuity”, complete with “diversity, “self awareness”, “acceptance” of their anti-family, anti-law, anti-social norm, radical progressive open border Nancy Pelosi garbage…

    2-Vigil-gathering to support a beloved member of the community (a person who did not sneak in at night)

    3-Immigrant-person who travels to a country with the express purpose of LEGALLY entering, following all prescribed procedures and bringing their culture and customs yet learning to love and improve their new community..in this case St. George, Utah, USA. People like my in laws who waited 14 years to get their citizenship, who learned to speak English, who pay taxes, contribute and make USA a better place.

    The writer is purposely trying to decive the readers..into thinking..”It’s so nice how we support our immigrants” all the while NEVER mentioning that most of these “immigrants” snuck in, are not assimilating, are trolling our services, our jobs, commiting crimes, overwhelming our schools, ER’s, public assistance etc.

    Get on the list or get out, and take your extended family with you. That is my take..I’m sorry your third world country sucks, we will gladly take you if you can pass the background checks, comply with the rules, accept OUR culture, share yours, and learn to speak OUR language.

    Folks, Action St George is the enemy of everything you have worked for, believe in and hold valuable. If they are allowed to freely infiltrate they willl slowly turn St George into a cesspool filled with criminal illegals, whackos, anti-family, anti-society, anti-American liberals, socialist, Islamcist, radical, progrressive garbage. I have seen this happen in several communites I lived in. After a few years..you will have to move to excape the insanity…it’s coming.

    I support their right of free speech, their right to aseemble and their personal safety, but I firmly disagree with most everything they stand for…and I am willing to stand up, protest and fight them at every corner…they are aiding and abeting criminals.

    The author needs to take a class on truthful reporting….and to not to use his keybord in an effort to destroy his own community and soften the landing for these “change makers” who want to steal and corrupt your future…..my headline…..”Local radical gansters in support of lawless criminal aliens occupy Vernon Worthen Park in effort to brainwash sleeping public of St George”

    Wake up folks…before you live in St George-cisco. Be on the look out for deceptive buzz words like immigrant, inclusive, diversity, acceptance, multi cultural, refugee….they all have more meaning then you might think. Action St. George is the Trojan Horse! Stand UP

    Whoabuddy !

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.