A few hours after President Donald Trump announced several executive orders pertaining to immigration policy, about 500 people marched through Jackson Heights on Wednesday to voice their opposition to his decisions.
Make the Road New York, a national immigrant organization, organized the march through Jackson Heights on Jan. 25 to tell the president that “immigrants, Muslims and refugees are here to stay.”
Public Advocate Letitia James and Assemblyman Francisco Moya were some of the people in attendance. Other attendees held up signs that read “Aqui estamos y no nos vamos,” or “We are here and we are not leaving.”
The order announced on Wednesday instructs the Department of Homeland Security to take “steps to immediately plan, design and construct a physical wall along the southern border.” It also instructed the department to hire 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents and 10,000 immigration officers.
Also under the orders, sanctuary cities like New York would be stripped of federal grant money. Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Police Commissioner James O’Neill spoke out against the order, arguing that it would erode the relationship between police and New York City residents. De Blasio further stated in an CNN interview that the city would be prepared to sue the federal government were it to lose federal grant money over Trump’s sanctuary city order.
“This is an act of war against the immigrant community,” said Javier H. Valdés, co-executive director of Make the Road New York. “Increasing ICE and border enforcement and aiming to defund sanctuary cities is an attack on our families. And we stand united with refugees and our Muslim brothers and sisters; an attack on any one of us is an attack on us all. With this executive action, Donald Trump has signaled that he wants to terrorize us and make millions of immigrants live in fear. But we are committed to not letting that happen.”
The march in Jackson Heights was live-streamed and people marched down Roosevelt Avenue starting at 7 p.m. Moya, the first Ecuadorian-American to be elected to public office in the United States, wrote a letter to the president after the announcement that federal money could be stripped from sanctuary cities.
“If you want to strip sanctuary cities of funding to force us into complying with your vindictive anti-immigrant executive actions, go ahead; that won’t make us budge,” the letter read.
— MaketheRoadNewYork (@MaketheRoadNY) January 26, 2017