Syracuse Demonstrators Mark Anniv. of Airport "Muslim Ban" Protest With March to Sheriff's Office

Jan 29, 2018

A crowd of about 100 Central New Yorkers marched along Syracuse City streets Monday to oppose Trump administration immigration policies.  Demonstrators chose this specific day to send a direct message, chanting "immigrants are welcome here." 

It was one year ago that hundreds of thousands flooded airports in protest of the Trump administrations so-called Muslim ban.  That included hundreds that turned out impromptu to Syracuse’s Hancock Airport.  Marchers left city hall Monday heading toward the Sheriff’s office to not have the community feel the impacts of immigration and customs enforcement – or ICE.  Yusuf Abdul-Qadir of the New York Civil Liberties Union tried to charge up the crowd.

Yusuf Abdul-Qadir addresses the crowd on the steps of city hall before departing for the sheriff's office.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

"We need to be demanding that Onondaga County Sheriff Gene Conway ensures that he will not cooperate with ICE!"  he said to cheers. "There can be no middle ground!  There can be no compromise!"

He asked more of the crowd than just marching in protest of increased enforcement or deportation of undocumented immigrants.  Abdul-Qadir wants supports to be even more committed to protecting those of different backgrounds – however they came to be here.

"Whether you're Muslim or Jewish or atheist or Christian or Buddhist or Hindu or Sikh, you should know Syracuse is a home for you and that we will stand up for you and that the community will show up, not just today, but tomorrow and the day after."

The Workers Center of CNY helped organize the march.  Spokesperson Kayla Kelechian says people came here to escape war or persecution or even genocide.

Marchers cross E. Washington St.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

"People fled to the U.S. for sanctuary.  With the current administration, we are no different from those governments that they fled.  They're always living in fear.  Our communities, we have seen recently, are being ripped apart, families destroyed.  There's no stopping."

She’s referring to a recent ICE action in which they detained Hector Navarro in front of the home in which his wife and four children live.  He’s lived and worked here since 2008 -- An example of how federal policies play out here in Syracuse.  

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh says he plans to continue former Mayor Stephanie Miner’s pledge to not have city police enforce federal immigration actions.  Sheriff Conway has said he would honor federal requests to detain undocumented workers after arrests, even if they were free to go on any criminal charges.