Protests held in NY against Trump immigration plans

Hundreds of people attend an evening rally at Washington Square Park in support of Muslims, immigrants and against the building of a wall along the Mexican border on January 25, 2017 in New York City. (AFP)

More than a thousand people took to New York streets Wednesday to condemn President Donald Trump’s border wall and immigration plans.

The US leader ordered officials to start designing and building a physical wall along the southern border earlier in the day. He is also said to be floating the idea of a ban on refugees from Muslim-majority countries, including Syria.

Demonstrators of all stripes turned out to rally after 5:00 pm (2200 GMT) in Manhattan’s Washington Square Park. “No ban, no wall, New York is for all,” demonstrators chanted. Many of their signs called for the defense of Muslims’ rights and the continued reception of refugees from Syria and other Muslim countries in conflict.

“It’s really scary,” said Thariha Choudbury, a Muslim from Bangladesh. “Since he (Trump) was elected, I really feel that Islamophobia has increased, and it can only continue because it has given power to racists in this country.”

The president earlier in the day promised to cut funding to jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with the federal government on its policies. “I am married to an immigrant, my friends are immigrants... We are a city of immigrants and we must defend our communities,” another protestor, Austin Guillem, stressed at the rally.

Children ‘shouldn’t be worried’

President Donald Trump said that illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children, known as “dreamers,” should not be worried about deportation.

“They shouldn’t be very worried,” Trump said in an interview broadcast on ABC News on Wednesday. “I do have a big heart. We’re going to take care of everybody,” Trump said, adding: “Where you have great people that are here that have done a good job, they should be far less worried.”

“We’ll be coming out with policy on that over the next period of four weeks,” he added.

Torture works but will follow advice

President Trump also said Wednesday he thinks waterboarding and other interrogation techniques widely seen as torture – and prohibited by law – “absolutely” work, but would defer to his CIA and Pentagon chiefs on whether to reinstate them.

When asked about waterboarding in an interview with ABC News at the White House, Trump said it was necessary to “fight fire with fire” in the face of the beheadings of Americans and other atrocities by ISIS militants.

The comments from the new Republican president – which echo statements he made on the campaign trail – come as reports suggest his administration may be considering the reinstatement of secret CIA “black site” prisons overseas.

“When they’re chopping off the heads of our people, and other people... when ISIS is doing things that nobody has ever heard of since medieval times, would I feel strongly about waterboarding? As far as I’m concerned, we have to fight fire with fire,” he said.

But he said he would rely on the advice of Pentagon chief James Mattis and Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo. In February 2016, Trump said “torture works” and pledged to bring back waterboarding and “much worse.”

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48
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