The chart above shows immigration protests in the United States based on local news reports since January 20, 2017. Clicking on a specific date will bring up a list of protests in support of immigration on that date.
In April, we compared protests for and against gun control after the shooting in Parkland, FL and the massive protests that followed. While there were a few large protests for gun rights, advocates for greater gun control overwhelmingly outnumbered those against based on the number of protests and attendees. Given changes to the country's policies and enforcement priorities with respect to immigration over the last year and a half, we decided to take a closer look at immigration protest trends across the country.
The map below shows protests for and against immigration in the United States based on local news reports between January 20, 2017 and January 31, 2021. Each marker's size represents the relative number of attendees at an event, and events with fewer than 900 attendees are shown with the smallest marker. Blue markers indicate events in support of immigration; yellow markers indicate the opposite.
At the time of this writing, between January 20, 2017 and June 30, 2018, we found a total of 2340 immigration protests, 61 of which were against immigration. Over the last year and a half, 97% of all immigration protests were in support of immigrants. Prior to June 30's Families Belong Together national protests, the top two pro-immigration demonstrations took place in Los Angeles and Boston. On May 1, 2017, 30,000 people marched in Los Angeles' MacArthur Park as part of International Workers Day/May Day. And on January 29, 2017, 17,250 people marched against the newly announced travel ban in Boston's Copley Plaza. In stark contrast, the largest anti-immigration protest had a maximum of several hundred attendees. That protest took place in Redbury, NJ on February 27, 2017 in support of a border wall.
Notably, every controversial policy change—banning travelers from Muslim countries, ending DACA, switching to zero-tolerance enforcement—drove a spike in protest activity. At the same time, the number of protest events and people protesting against immigration is small by any measure. We’ve seen that on topics like guns there are active voices protesting for and against greater gun control, though many more for than against. This is substantially less so the case for immigration. At a minimum, it is odd to observe such a vast difference between our protests and our policies.