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Religious, political leaders rally against Trump immigration actions

Christine Umeda, who was interned during World War II, speaks about her experience during a news conference responding to anti-immigration executive orders by President Donald Trump at Salam Islamic Center on Thursday Jan. 26, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. From left, Assemblyman Jim Cooper, Umeda, CAIR Sacramento Valley Executive Director Basim Elkarra, Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna and Waseem Bawa, chairperson of Salam Center and board member of the Council of Sacramento Valley Islamic Organizations, share the podium.
Christine Umeda, who was interned during World War II, speaks about her experience during a news conference responding to anti-immigration executive orders by President Donald Trump at Salam Islamic Center on Thursday Jan. 26, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. From left, Assemblyman Jim Cooper, Umeda, CAIR Sacramento Valley Executive Director Basim Elkarra, Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna and Waseem Bawa, chairperson of Salam Center and board member of the Council of Sacramento Valley Islamic Organizations, share the podium. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

In a display of solidarity, leaders representing a broad spectrum of Sacramento’s faith and political communities rallied Thursday against President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders expanding the identification and deportation of undocumented immigrants.

Gathering at the Salam Islamic Center near American River College, the group also criticized an anticipated executive order to restrict the flow of refugees into the United States and ban visitors from seven predominantly Muslim nations – Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Iran, Libya and Sudan. Sacramento is among the top destinations for Syrian refugees in the nation, and is also home to large numbers of refugees from Iraq and Iran, according to data reported by the U.S. Department of State.

“Sacramento has a history of immigrant communities,” said Sacramento Councilman Eric Guerra, a native of Mexico and the first Latino member of the City Council since 1999. “That is the root of our city and of our region.”

The supporters included leaders in the Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities, joined by black pastors, former prisoners of Japanese American internment camps and labor union leaders.

Waseem Bawa, the board chairman of the Salam Center and a board member of the Council of Sacramento Valley Islamic Organizations, said a candidate’s campaign message is often different from the policy that candidate enacts once in office. But in Trump’s case, “some of the extreme rhetoric has formed itself into policy,” Bawa said.

The president has signed a series of orders this week cracking down on illegal immigration, part of a cornerstone of his campaign.

Top elected officials around the state said Wednesday they are prepared to challenge Trump’s orders in court, especially his threat to cut federal funding to local governments that do not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement efforts. Speakers at Thursday’s event said they will continue rallying if Trump keeps targeting immigrant communities.

“Sacramento is a place known for its tolerance, its celebration of diversity,” said Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna. “Each time this administration signs executive orders that are against what this community is about, you’re going to see this community come out en masse.”

Ryan Lillis: 916-321-1085, @Ryan_Lillis

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