The rally in Foley Square was organized by the New York Immigration Coalition and co-sponsored by dozens of immigration rights groups, including the New York Civil Liberties Union, Brooklyn Defender Services, Detention Watch Network, Make the Road New York and the Immigrant Defense Project, according to the event’s official webpage.
“New York City families deserve dignity and respect. The president’s recent actions on immigration are tearing our communities apart,” event organizer Libby Richmond told.
Nearly 700 people signed up on social media to attend the event — a number consistent with estimated attendance.
Demonstrators gathered at 9 a.m. (1400 GMT) for a press conference, with a silent march and prayer called a Jericho Walk following at 10 a.m.
“Each day, dozens of New Yorkers facing deportation must check-in with [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] officers at 26 Federal Plaza,” New York Immigration Coalition spokesperson Thanu Yakupitiyage said during a press conference. “When they enter the building, they don’t know if they will be able to see their families again.”
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer stressed that New York’s success was due to its welcoming of people from all over the world, noting that immigrants own more than 80,000 businesses in New York City and comprise 40 percent of the city’s workforce.
“We are standing here today, because we believe in strong inclusive America that lives up to its promises — liberty, freedom and justice for all,” Brewer said.
US lawmakers, rights groups and international organizations have repeatedly criticized Trump’s statements on immigration and religion.
On Monday, Trump signed an executive order that blocks travelers from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States and suspends the refugee admission program for 120 days. The order replaced a previous action halted last month by a federal judge in Seattle.