Mass rallies denounce Trump and defend immigrants: ‘City of immigrants’

From the March-April 2017 issue of News & Letters

New York City—The opposition here to President Trump’s orders on immigration was fierce and rapid. The same night they were announced, Jan. 25, over a thousand people rallied in historic Washington Square Park. We held up signs proclaiming solidarity with Muslim people and all immigrants. Several New York elected officials spoke out against the new orders and the Council on American-Islamic Relations played a major role in the protest. People chanted, “This is what America looks like.”

After the rally people took to the streets and headed uptown. Over 20 were thrown to the ground, cuffed and arrested. All were later released.

Then, on Jan. 27 thousands assembled at John F. Kennedy airport to protest the immigration ban and to support several Iraqi citizens detained after landing. The crowd was so big that it filled one of the main international terminals. The subway link with the rest of New York was temporarily shut down to prevent people from getting to the airport, a decision overturned by Governor Cuomo.

Cabbies at the airport announced a one-hour strike in support of the immigrants, and Lyft, a car service, pledged a million dollars to the ACLU to fight the immigration orders. Scandalously, however, Uber car service acted like a strikebreaker, picking up passengers in defiance of the call for a strike. The cab drivers chanted “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here.”

At the same time, a Brooklyn federal courtroom and halls leading to it were packed with opponents of the ban. Then, on Jan. 29, in response to a citywide call to stand with immigrants, sponsored by many immigrant rights organizations and politicians, over 10,000 people rallied in lower Manhattan with plans to march on the local office of the immigration department. Further protests are a certainty.

—Natalia Spiegel


This article was printed in the March-April 2017 issue of News & Letters as part of a feature, “Mass rallies denounce Trump and defend immigrants.” The feature’s articles include:

N.Y. Yemenis strike

‘City of immigrants’

Los Angeles

Florida students rally

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