New York City Protestors Make Demands Clear: ‘No Ban, No Wall!’

Last Friday, Trump issued an executive order banning travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days and suspending all refugee admission for 120 days.

The countries affected are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. A wave of confusion and fear overtook airports nationwide that night and immediately prompted protests across the country.

Thousands of people took over the streets of lower Manhattan this past Saturday, first rallying at Battery Park, and later marching towards City Hall, where protestors then divided into several mini-rally groups.

Strong and harmonious chanting of “No ban! No wall!” activated marchers. “Let them in” then followed and a few other unapologetic chants.

Zerline Alvarez

People are angry, but mostly confused. As diverse of a nation this is, many are finding it hard to understand.

It is clear this is a Muslim ban. Steve Bannon, Trump’s Assistant and Chief Strategist, is allegedly the person behind the ban.

Zerline Alvarez
Zerline Alvarez

He is also the former executive chairman of Breitbart News, a website for the “alt-right”, which has been accused of white nationalism, and promoting racist, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant hate.

The legality of the executive order is unclear. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Trump can technically restrict any class of aliens he deems “detrimental to the interests of the United States” without needing legislation or congressional approval.

Zerline Alvarez
Zerline Alvarez

Yet federal  law states that, “no person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth or place of residence.”

So who do we turn to for clarification?

According to The New York Times, the court orders in Boston, Brooklyn, Seattle, and Alexandria, Va. “were provisional, aimed at maintaining the status quo. They were limited in scope, applying only to people on their way to the United States or already here.

muslim ban 3
Zerline Alvarez

They did not rule on the larger question of whether Mr. Trump’s executive order was lawful.” Meaning it’s hard to tell whether the courts will take legal actions in striking down part or all of Trump’s executive order.

Although the order was quickly met with widespread uproar, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds that 31 per cent of Americans feel ‘more safe’ because of the ban, compared with 26 per cent who say they feel “less safe.”

Zerline Alvarez
Zerline Alvarez

It also showed that around 38 percent said they felt the United States was setting “a good example” of how best to confront terrorism, while 41 percent said the country was setting “a bad example.”

The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement early Sunday saying it would comply with the court orders but that little has changed: “The president’s executive orders remain in place — prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the U.S. government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety.”

Zerline Alvarez
Zerline Alvarez

The New York attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman says that the executive order was unconstitutional and that he and other attorneys general are exploring the possibility of further legal action.

And in response to Attorney General Sally Yates defying his order, check out how the Trump Administration went about firing Yates for refusing to enforce Trump’s Muslim ban.

I need some help with this one. Is it just me, or is Trump using fear to control the American public? Using mass media as a tool?

Is he doing this to make Islamophobia legitimate, using the same divisive strategies of past administrations and distracting us from its true agenda?

I’m not implying that terrorism against this country is not a real matter, but that generalizing a group of people on the basis of religion is ruthless and dangerous thinking that does a lot more than create hatred towards them.

It does serious damage to families, kills innocent people, and later simply called collateral damage. We all have one common oppressor and it’s not outside of our borders.

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Zerline Alvarez

Zerline is a freelance writer and documentary photographer based in NYC. Her most important mission in life is to enhance the lives of others and create social change through activism and her craft. She enjoys reading, being among family and friends, and collaborating with creatives.