Rights Advocates Slam Trump Plans On Muslim Immigrants, Refugees
Immigrant and refugee advocates on Wednesday (January 25) denounced White House plans to temporarily stop receiving refugees and suspend visas for people from seven Middle Eastern and North African countries, saying they target Muslims and will make America less safe.
A draft executive order seen by Reuters 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.
Trump is also expected to order a multi-month ban on allowing refugees into the United States except for religious minorities escaping persecution, until more aggressive vetting is in place, said the aides and experts, who asked not to be identified.
The administration's aim is to head off Islamist violence in the United States, but critics say the measures soil America's reputation as a welcoming place for immigrants of all kinds.
Before his Nov. 8 election victory, Trump, a Republican, pledged to stop taking refugees from Syria and immigrants from countries deemed to pose a terrorism risk.
During the campaign, Trump originally proposed a ban on all Muslims entering the country, a measure that almost certainly would have faced legal challenges for discrimination on the basis of religion. He later altered his stance to target countries known to be sources of terrorism.
At least one thousand protesters gathered in New York City's Washington Square Park chanting, "Here to stay" and "No ban, no wall, New Yorkers for all".
The evening protest was organized by CAIR-NY (Council on American-Islamic-Relations). Albert Cahn, Director of Strategic Litigation for CAIR-NY told the crowd, "Across this country we see the darkness that Donald Trump's cabinet will bring. We see executive orders that will strip our neighbors of their rights. We see orders that will target people because of their faith and we say No! New Yorkers will not be silent. We will not stand by and let this happen. We will stand up and be heard!"
Public Advocate for New York City Letitia James called on the crowd to hold up the lights on their phones to "show the world the light that New York City and this country is a beacon of light."
"Whenever you see a government that is lawless, you've got an obligation and duty to do what? Resist!" she said.
Comptroller of the City of New York Scott Stringer said, "To make it very clear that as a Jewish American, I stand with the Muslim community because today and every day in New York City we are one people. I stand together with you because when they come for you, they come for me. And they have come for me, they have come for you."
The demonstrators represented a variety of movements including Black Lives Matter and opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
"I feel like I'm part of something that is so profound on so many levels because these are people from all different demographics, people from all different backgrounds, from different religions," said protester Samata.
"I'm very happy to see how different groups representing different communities and different politics are actually rallying together and articulating their movements together. And I think this is very important. We have not seen this kind of solidarity for a long time," added another demonstrator, Ismail.