Thousands of demonstrators marched in protest against President-elect Donald Trump's pledge to deport millions of undocumented immigrants in Manhattan on Sunday afternoon, marking the fifth consecutive day of protests in the aftermath of Trump's stunning election.
Organized by the immigrant rights group Make The Road New York, along with several other social justice organizations, the march aimed to send the message to the President-elect that his insistence on targeting and deporting immigrants is unacceptable to New Yorkers.
"My mom is a Mexican, I'm Mexican-American, and there are plenty of people who are coming here to have a better life and to support their families, and we can't just be turning on them," said Allison Hargrove, 23, of Washington Heights. "The majority of white America doesn't understand the dangers they've just put immigrants in. We need to reject Donald Trump in every way."
The march began in Columbus Circle, just outside Trump International Hotel and Tower, before setting off along 59th Street towards Trump's Fifth Avenue tower. There, on Sunday, Trump announced that the white nationalist political operative Steve Bannon, who served as the CEO of Trump's campaign, would be his chief strategist in the White House.
Marcia Esparza, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the author of several books on human rights abuses in Latin America, attended the protest with her son. "As a Latin American, it was not a surprise to me that this was at all possible, because in Chile, where I grew up, we have seen this happen. We've seen this happen in many, many countries," Esparza said. "Trump's tone, his policies, they're all too familiar to me. My advice is practicing as much empathy as possible. Try to remain as conscious as you can of the suffering of other people over the next few years."
New York Police Department officers stopped marchers a block short of Trump Tower. There, Make The Road organizer Antonio Alarcon told the crowd, "This is a historic moment for all immigrants and people of color. Our community continues to be under attack. And what do we do when our community is under attack? We fight back."
Make The Road and other immigrants' rights groups have called upon local elected officials to loudly condemn Trump, and demanded that they publicly commit to preserving New York's policy of non-cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Trump has threatened to slash federal funding for New York and other municipalities with so-called "sanctuary city" policies.
In an interview with 60 Minutes that aired Sunday night, President-elect Trump pledged to immediately deport between two to three million immigrants.
Councilman Carlos Menchaca, who grew up on the U.S.-Mexico border, spoke to constituents as he marched, while holding a sign that read, "Immigrant Families. Women. LGTBQ. Muslims. We are Sunset Park."
"When you're talking about compromising on our immigrant families, we're talking about the people that are keeping our neighborhoods alive, families that have for so long been given hope and opportunity in this city. We're going to do everything in our power in the City Council to make that happen, and maybe even some powers we don't even know we have we're going to be able to exercise," said Menchaca, who chairs the City Council's Committee on Immigration.
When asked about Trump's threat to deny federal funding to "sanctuary cities," Menchaca was unfazed.
"I dare him to do that," he said.