Hundreds of high school and college students in New York City have walked out of their classes and rallied to protest against US President Donald Trump’s immigration and education policies.
At a rally at Manhattan’s Foley Square, the protesters condemned Trump’s travel ban against seven mostly Muslim countries, as well as his nominee for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, who was confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday.
DeVos, a billionaire from the state of Michigan, had faced vociferous opposition from lawmakers for having little experience with public schools and advocating the use of tax dollars to finance private Christian schools.
“Betsy DeVos was confirmed today despite her shameful inexperience and complete lack of understanding for the very job she seeks,” one student speaker shouted into a loudspeaker, according to local news media.
The students also decried Trump’s immigration policies, which they said promote “bigotry, hatred and prejudice.”
“Never in my 17 young years have I felt as black as I did the day Trump became our president. Never in those 17 years have I felt as much Islamophobia, discrimination and hate as I did in the last three months,” said Yacine Fall, a high school senior from Harlem.
“You’ve got to rise up, like so many have done before you, and you’ve got to resist, like so many have done before you,” she said.
After the rally, the group marched to Federal Plaza where the New York office of US Citizenship and Immigration Services is located.
Trump signed an executive order on January 27 that imposed a temporary travel ban on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and placed an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees. The move also suspended admission of all refugees for 120 days.
Last week, US District Judge James Robart, a federal judge in Seattle, Washington, granted a temporary restraining order against Trump’s travel ban. The fate of the order is being decided in courts in a legal battle that could end up in the Supreme Court.
“Even though there was a temporary halt on the Muslim ban,” protest organizers wrote on Facebook, “We must remain vigilant. Focus on the next issue. Focus on the injustice that went unnoticed.”