POLITICS

Priest completes 350-mile trek from Chicago to RNC to send pro-immigrant message

The Rev. Jose Landaverde (center) at a rally in downtown Cleveland on Monday. (Photo: Andrew O'Reilly/Fox News Latino)

The Rev. Jose Landaverde (center) at a rally in downtown Cleveland on Monday. (Photo: Andrew O'Reilly/Fox News Latino)

Overheated, sweat-stained and with blistered feet, Rev. José Landaverde made his way toward the Mall in downtown Cleveland last Friday.

Arriving two days ahead of schedule, the Anglican priest and four companions completed a march from their hometown in Chicago to the site of this year’s Republican National Convention as a message for Republican leaders and the presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“We marched to stop the hate speech of Donald Trump that is causing so many problems in our country.” Landaverde told Fox News Latino on Monday while attending a rally in downtown Cleveland. “I believe in conservative principals, but I don’t believe in dividing other people and rejecting immigrants.”

He added: “We are here to send a message that all people, with the love and help of God, can live peacefully together.”

Like many U.S. Latinos, Landaverde is upset by Trump’s hard line stance and tough rhetoric about immigration. He is worried about a possible wave of anger toward Hispanics. 

Landaverde and his contingent started in the middle of July walking 12 to 20 miles a day from Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood to Cleveland. He told FNL that he hopes his walk will send a message to that there are consequences for denigrating immigrants while campaigning.

Trump has drawn the scorn of many for his comments about Mexican immigrants and his call to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Many people in the Republican Party, however, have responded passionately to the candidate's call for greater security on the border – an enthusiasm that the real estate mogul has ridden all the way to the GOP nomination.

In recent months, Trump’s rallies have been plagued with protests and unrest as supporters have clashed with demonstrators voicing their outrage over his campaign comments.

Landaverde told FNL that the hardest part of the trek to Cleveland was dealing with the weather and the blisters that each developed from the march. At one point on their journey, the group was forced to take shelter under a overpass in Indiana.

“We were [physically] devastated when we got here,” he said.

Despite the hardships of the road, Landaverde said he got in a few days of good rest over the weekend and is ready to join numerous rallies planned for this week.

“This is a country of immigrants and one of a million different communities,” he said. “The message on both sides has to be one of peace.”

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