Rally on Steps of Rochester City Hall, Protesters Riled By Executive Orders

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- In front of Rochester City Hall Friday night, Mohamed Abukar, 20, gathered with hundreds of others.  They protested against President Donald Trump's executive order that would block funding from cities who do not abide by federal immigration laws. They also protested his executive order that puts restrictions immigrants and refugees coming into this country.

“I’d like to see more immigrants come in, and more freedom for everybody,” Abukar said.

For Abukar and his family, the fight is personal. Although he said he was born in Kenya, he said his family is from Somalia and came over in 2004. His mother said getting into America was difficult, but was worth it.

“I like America,” Fatbuam said. “I love you so much. America is beautiful.”

Those at the protest said it's families like these they are fighting for.

“The executive order I think it’s basically based on xenophobia,” Fulton resident Kaitlyn Kinney said. “Our country, after 9/11, unfortunately is really against Muslims and anyone from areas that support the Islamic traditions. We have a lot of stereotypes about that and I think that really influences our perceptions about people and unfortunately takes away our love from people that are just like we are.”

“I think with the executive order, putting a ban on seven specific countries, is definitely making some type of prejudice by race,” Pittsford resident Dana Teets said. “I don’t agree with it at all. I think that just because some Muslims are terrorists, doesn’t mean all of them are terrorists.”

“I think that the executive order is full of hate and misguided information,” Spencerport resident Ellen Robillard said. “It’s building fear, it’s not doing us any good. I’m also disturbed about the threat of taking away federal funding for sanctuary cities. We need to stand on the side of what’s right, no matter what.”

Carter Schum, 10, said he supports sanctuary cities and is here to back his friends who are refugees.

“I’ve learned that it’s been very tough, but I have learned that they also realize that they really thought America is a great country and that it truly is the land of opportunity,” Schum said.

For Abukar, he felt a sense of solidary among the crowd.

“It’s exciting,” Abukar said. “It’s an eye-opener because I knew realized Rochester has so much support for immigrants and refugees.”

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren hopes to work with the state attorney's office to modernize the city's 1986 sanctuary resolution so it can be placed before city council. 

Organizers at this rally also passed around a petition asking the mayor and city council to create a resolution that would say the city will not be in compliance with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and immigration authorities who are seeking to interfere with local matters.

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