Activists gather at Fresno City Hall to protest mayor's "sanctuary city" decision

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Fresno mayor Lee Brand's announcement to not make Fresno a "sanctuary city" drew organized criticism Friday. (KFSN)

A couple hundred people showed up at Fresno City Hall Friday to demand the mayor reverse his decision and they want a response by March 16.

It was a peaceful protest fueled by emotion and solidarity. Fresno mayor Lee Brand's announcement to not make Fresno a "sanctuary city" drew organized criticism Friday. Activists gathered in front of city hall to express their displeasure and protest the mayor's decision.

"He is our representative," protest organizer Ariana Martinez Lott said. "He's representing us, so, we as a people, are telling him one of the platforms was that he said he wanted to listen to the community, so here we are asking him to listen to us."

Many at Friday's protest see the mayor's decision as siding with President Donald Trump and his vow to crack down on cities that protect immigrants in the US illegally.

"I hope that Lee Brand gets and understands that we're not taking this anymore," activist Cesar Casamayor said. "We've been taking this disenfranchisement, disengagement from the community for a very long time."

Council member Esmeralda Soria showed her support by speaking at Friday's protest

"This issue is very personal to me so I want the community to know that as their council member, as one of seven, I will stand in solidarity with them to make sure the immigrant community they feel protected and safe in the city of Fresno," she said.

Across town, local church leaders denounced President Trump's plan to temporarily halt the nation's refugee program and to usher in the most sweeping changes to the program in more than four decades.

"With his actions, President Trump seeks to undo our humanitarian tradition with a ban that directly targets the world's most vulnerable populations," said Zach Darrah with Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries.

Details about President Trump's crackdown on sanctuary cities remains unclear. What we do know is that Trump has signed two executive orders -- to begin building a border wall with Mexico and to strip federal funding to cities that refuse to cooperate with immigration enforcement.

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