Trump’s crackdown on immigration drew immediate protest nationwide. Thousands of people poured into New York City’s Washington Square Park Tuesday night holding candles and signs reading “No One Is Illegal.” Vigils and rallies were also held outside Los Angeles City Hall and at the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza in Washington, D.C. This is Debbie Almontaser, president of the Muslim Community Network, speaking in Manhattan Tuesday night.
Debbie Almontaser: “I’m a community activist here in New York City. I’m also a Yemeni-American who actually still has family back in Yemen. Shortly after the war, many members of my family were actually able to flee, such as my daughter and her husband. But sadly, as we speak, my brother-in-law’s wife remains in Yemen. He actually began the petitioning for her, and she was in Jordan and awaiting just to finish her paperwork. And now, with this executive order, I very much doubt that she will be able to join her two daughters and husband, who are already here.”
That was Debbie Almontaser. And this is another protester who is originally from Sudan.
Shadin Awad: “My name is Shadin Awad. And I think it’s quite ironic that there is a ban, or there is a potential ban, on people from Sudan and people from a lot of Muslim countries, in general, where the U.S. has played a direct hand in disenfranchising the people of those countries. The U.S. has played a direct hand in even the genocide that occurred in Darfur. I think it’s really ironic that, you know, now it’s however many years later, they’re saying, 'Oh, we don't want you. We don’t want you after we messed up your country. We don’t want you after we’ve disenfranchised your people. We don’t want you after we’ve disenfranchised the world.’ You know, as the U.S., we meddle, we go everywhere. The U.S. goes everywhere and then says, 'No, we don't want you anymore.’”
Following Trump’s executive orders, hundreds of people also marched through the streets in Kensington, Brooklyn—a predominantly working-class immigrant community—and gathered for a press conference to announce the launch of a “Hate-Free Zone.” The community defense program is one of a series of efforts by neighborhood groups nationwide to mobilize residents to organize their own security against hate attacks and police brutality. In the wake of Trump’s election, verbal and physical hate attacks against immigrants, LGBT people, African Americans and religious minorities have increased dramatically. Last week, 27 Jewish community centers nationwide received bomb threats, after 16 JCCs received bomb threats the week before. Other examples include a swastika and the word “Trump” being graffitied onto a high school in Cincinnati, Ohio, and onto a library in Northbrook, Illinois.