- Associated Press - Sunday, January 29, 2017

NEW YORK (AP) - Standing in sight of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, demonstrators on Sunday packed New York City’s Battery Park to demand an end to President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from seven majority Muslim nations.

The big crowd gathered Sunday near the ferries that carry visitors to the statue and the island, the place where 12 million people entered the United States in the golden age of immigration. They carried signs saying “America was built by refugees,” and “Muslim ban is un-American.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio invoked America’s immigration history in speaking out against Trump’s executive order.

“Forty percent of all Americans can trace their origins to those who went through Ellis Island,” he said. “I’ll tell you one thing they’d say to us, ‘We’re all human beings, we came to this country for freedom, we came to this country because it’s a beacon. We will not let that beacon be put out by Donald Trump.’”

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer addressed the crowd, saying, “They’re against everything that is American. Those orders make us less humanitarian, less safe and less American.”

The rally followed a night of big demonstrations at New York’s Kennedy Airport, where thousands of people spontaneously gathered to demand the release of detained travelers.

At a news conference across town, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo expressed solidarity with the demonstrations.

He announced the state is creating a legal help hotline for families with loved-ones who have been blocked from entering the U.S.

“Freedom is not gained from oppression, and you cannot protect Democracy by violating individual rights,” he said.

The New York Immigration Coalition, an umbrella organization for nearly 200 immigrant and refugee rights groups in New York, released a statement saying that as of 7 p.m. Sunday, the total number of people that were detained at JFK “was as high as 52.”

“Despite widespread understanding that green card holders were not going to be detained, there was a mix of green card holders, visa holders, and family members of U.S. citizens,” the coalition said in a statement.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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