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'Trump Tuesday' rally in Syracuse features refugees, residents affected by immigration ban

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner hosted a rally in downtown Syracuse to hear from refugees and immigrants affected by President Donald Trump’s immigration ban. 

The ban prevents citizens from seven countries in Africa and the Middle East from entering the U.S. for the next 90 days. Miner’s "Trump Tuesday" rally mirrors other protests around the country.

Habiba Boru is nine months pregnant and lives in Syracuse. She is Muslim and a refugee from Ethiopia, which is not one of the seven countries banned. She braved the cold and the snow, to show solidarity with other refugees in the community.

“My son recently, during the election asked me questions like, ‘Mom, the fact that Donald Trump is president right now, does that mean that he is going to take you and father away from us? Because that is what we are hearing in school,’" Boru said. "And that breaks my heart. So it does affect me so much.”

And she said just two days ago an African refugee was attacked on Syracuse’s north side.

“He is new to America, he has just been here for two months," Boru said. "He was beaten down, he was robbed and they just left him there to suffer.”

Chol Majok was one of the Lost Boys of South Sudan. Immigrants from the country of Sudan to the north are banned by Trump’s order. Majok knows first hand what it is like to live in a refugee camp and not be able to leave.

“You don’t have adequate clean water, you don’t have medical, you go days without food," Majok said. "Who would want to be in that? And a lot of people die, waiting to be resettled because they can’t go back to where they came from.”

Majok said he is not shocked by Trump’s ban, but he is disappointed.

“The country that we love so much, the country that we dream so much, that we want to come and be a part of and build these values that make this country so great, is turning into this," Majok said. "It's disturbing because there is many of our brothers and sisters that are waiting there that can be great Americans."

Syprien Mihigo is from the Congo and came to Syracuse in 2001. He said he supports rooting out the terrorists but not banning an entire group of people.

"I don’t oppose the president 100 percent," Mihigo said. "The idea is right, the process is wrong.”

Jay Subedi is from Bhutan in South Asia, another country not on the list. He was admitted to a refugee camp when he was 12 years old and lived there 18 years before coming to the U.S.

"I went through more than 15-20 times interview," Subedi said. "I was vetted, so many levels. I have nothing. This is my country. I love this country. I'm not a terrorist. Refugees come with so much talents and skills."

Subedi has a job at InterFaith Works in Syracuse as a housing coordinator for refugees. But because of the immigration ban he is in the process of losing his job.

The mayor said the rallies will continue depending on how many people are willing to speak up on how the president’s actions affect them.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.