Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

A rally in Downtown Rochester to oppose new immigration policies

Randy Gorbman

Hundreds of people gathered in Washington Square Park in Rochester on Sunday to object to new restrictions placed by the Trump administration on immigration.

It was the second weekend in a row there has been a large gathering in the downtown park.

Sponsor Message

This one wasn't as large as the previous weekend for the event timed to coincide with a women's march in Washington, but it was an enthusiastic crowd nonetheless, including some forceful words from Mayor Lovely Warren.

“We stand up for justice, we stand up for equality, we stand up for our children, we stand up for our brothers and sisters, and we have been doing this since the days of Frederick Douglass and Susan B Anthony..”

Warren says she felt a need to be at the rally, partly because of her own immigrant roots.

“ …my dad’s from Trinidad, I’m the child of an immigrant so I understand that people come to this country because they believe in freedom they believe in the American dream and many of them work very hard to be able accomplish that. And to be rejected just because of who, you are, or what you stand for or your religion, I think is wrong,” she told WXXI News.

Among those who braved the chilly temperatures, Kelly Neely of Greece, who says she felt a need to speak up on behalf of the kinds of people she knows well.

“I know hundreds of immigrants and I also personally know hundreds of Muslims and I can’t tell you how much I love and support them and I will fight this hatred and injustice with them.”

People like Ramesh Padman of Rochester, say President Trump’s crackdown on immigration doesn't make them feel safer, they are concerned about the message it's sending.  Padman says this is a matter of principle.

“Unless you’re Native American you have no inalienable right to say who can we deny to enter this country especially people who are in the most dire situation, have already  been approved to get visas and asylum status, and then suddenly you just rip the carpet off from them; I think it’s morally reprehensible and that’s why we’re here today."

Meantime Mayor Warren continues to express confidence Rochester will be able to legally continue the kinds of policies it adopted years ago to be a city of sanctuary to people from other countries.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.