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Politics and Government

Immigration activists and Trump supporters in Syracuse spar over deportations

Tom Magnarelli
Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner subdues the crowd to let Trump supporter Randy Potter speak.

Immigration activists in Syracuse say no undocumented immigrant is safe under President Donald Trump’s executive order to speed up deportations.

Aly Wane of Syracuse said Trump’s order widens the definition of a criminal alien to include anyone who is undocumented.

“Like, for example, someone who is a visa-overstay is considered a criminal alien now or someone who crosses the border for the first time is now considered a criminal alien whereas before it was simply a civil offense,” Wane said.

Credit Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News
Immigration supporters in Syracuse.

Wane, who immigrated from Senegal when he was nine years old, said that means undocumented immigrants with deep ties to their communities, who have stayed out of trouble, can still be targeted.

"The Trump administration is not making any exemptions in terms of the administration of these executive orders," Wane said.

Wane said he also does not think deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants is feasible.

"It would be like this country shooting itself in the foot economically," Wane said. "This country is powered by undocumented immigrant labor. The idea that somehow mass deportation is going to lead to more positive things for the American worker is a lie. Whenever there has been large raids in communities, those communities lose money."

Trump supporters in Syracuse say they agree with Trump’s executive order to deport undocumented immigrants. Randy Potter of Syracuse said they believe in legal immigration.

"I'm very proud of President Trump's issues," Potter said. "I love President Trump. Back in 2015 I hadn’t really decided who my candidate was but when he said he was going to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it, there’s an old saying in politics, vote your heart in the primary, vote your head in the general. He won my heart then and he’s kept it ever since.”

Both sides got to voice their opinions at a rally downtown hosted by Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner as part of her Trump Tuesday protests.