NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - New Orleans City Council Member Jason Williams addressed a protest rally on the steps of City Hall this afternoon, giving a fiery rebuttal of President Donald Trump’s recent immigration executive orders.
The New Orleans Palestinian Solidarity Committee and a group called Jewish Voice for Peace New Orleans hosted the rally, at which organizers issued a string of demands to state and local leaders refuting what they dubbed the “#MuslimBan.”
Williams stood at the center of the rally as several speakers talked about their personal experiences with immigration policy and expressed solidarity with immigrants worldwide before it was his turn to speak.
“I’m here because many of your demands were things that I have worked on and pushed with Chief Harrison and with the Congress of Day Laborers before Donald Trump was ever in office,” he said. “Now more than ever, I think it’s really clear we can see how rights can be eroded.”
Williams said even though the new administration has only been in office for a few days, Trump’s intentions to make the country more racist, xenophobic, and homophobic have already become clear.
“We are not going to allow him to push progress back,” Williams said of Trump. “I say to Donald Trump, I say to Mr. Bannon, not on my watch, not in my city, not in my country.”
The country has come too far, Williams said, to allow any new administration to “make it go back to the days where we couldn’t stand right here, and I couldn’t represent you here today.”
Williams said his experience as a criminal defense lawyer leads him to believe that Trump’s executive orders on immigration are illegal and unconstitutional.
Echoing a representative of the United Houma Nation who had spoken before him about the plight of indigenous people locally and nationwide, Williams ended with the statement “no ban on stolen lands.”
Organizers of the rally said they plan to bring their demands to the Jefferson Parish City Council next Wednesday morning.
Watch the entire #MuslimBan press conference below: