Thousands of New Yorkers rallied in a city’s park on Wednesday night to protest against US President Donald Trump and his executive orders on immigration he signed earlier in the day.
“No ban, No wall, This is our New York,” the crowd chanted, just hours after Trump ordered the building of his signature Mexican border wall and removal of funds from “sanctuary cities” like New York.
“Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are here to stay,” they shouted in Washington Square Park. “No hate, No fear, Immigrants are welcome here.”
“This is what America looks like,” the mass of people chanted, many waving signs encouraging unity and inclusiveness.
The last minute political rally was organized by the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and featured several activists and politicians who promised New York will remain a haven for immigrants.
“I’m here to say I add my voice to the resistance,” City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said.
Trump on Wednesday began moving toward fulfilling his campaign promises to erect a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and restrict people from Muslim majority countries from entering the U.S.
He also vowed to cut federal funds to “sanctuary cities” such as New York that don’t cooperate with his mandates.
Kavita Pawria-Sanchez, the assistant commissioner of the mayor’s office of immigrant affairs said Mayor de Blasio stood with the protesters.
“We are so proud to stand beside you in this fight for over 3 million immigrant New Yorkers. We know that New York is the city that has perhaps the largest Muslim population in the entire country,” she said. “What happened today was an absolute disgrace to our values as a city, community and country.”
Public Advocate Letitia James likened the resistance to Trump to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
“This is the struggle of all Americans,” she said. “We’ve got to join hands and protect the marginalized community and vulnerable communities” just as we protected African-Americans in the ’60s, we’ve got to protect those who they’re coming after.
“We’ve got to stand up to an administration that is too male, too pale and too stale.”
A draft of an executive order that Trump is expected to sign in the coming days would block the entry of refugees from war-torn Syria and suspend the entry of any immigrants from Muslim-majority Middle Eastern and African countries Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Yemen while permanent rules are studied.
During his election campaign, Trump made building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico a staple of his stump speeches. He has repeatedly vowed that Mexico will pay for the wall, something officials from that country have said will not happen.
“Ultimately it will come out of what’s happening with Mexico,” Trump told ABC News Wednesday, adding that construction could begin in a matter of months.
The orders signed Wednesday also require federal officials to publish a weekly list of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants in cities where they are not turned over to federal authorities. In addition, Trump ordered officials to hire 10,000 more immigration enforcement officers.
Opponents in New York said Trump’s actions threaten the very fabric of the nation â€” and fly in the face of what makes his own hometown such a great city.
“We are not the city of Donald Trump’s Wall Street cabinet,” Albert Cahn, the director of strategic litigation for CAIR-NY, said. “We are the city of diversity and faith, the city of love and compassion,the city that shows up, and shows the world that this city, this great city, will always remain a beacon of light.”—APP