Thousands of San Diegans took to the streets downtown on Saturday (February 18), calling on mayor Kevin Faulconer to establish San Diego as a sanctuary city and specifically offer support for Senate Bill 54, a proposal in the statehouse that would block state and local resources from being used to cooperate with federal immigration officials.
"We are promising that if Mayor Faulconer takes a soft stance on protecting the hard-working immigrants and refugees that live in his own city, he will have no political future in San Diego or California," reads an excerpt from the organizers' Facebook page.
"Today we say no to a ban, yes to building bridges, no to building walls," former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told a crowd gathered in front of the county administration building. "We come as Americans in every hue from every country as one in the values we believe in. Not in my America!"
Imam Taha Hassane of the Islamic Center of San Diego, protesting a presidential travel ban against seven predominantly Muslim countries that has successfully been challenged in court, said that "Muslims have been here since the beginning of this nation."
"My story is simple," Hassane said. "I'm just an immigrant who fell in love with America."
The crowd, which rally leaders said numbered between 5000 to 10,000 (police estimated participation closer to 4000), marched down Harbor Drive and up Broadway, waving signs and shouting chants such as, "Hey Trump, hey Pence, we'll tear down your fence!" The march ended in front of federal buildings downtown, where speeches continued as the crowd began to dwindle in the early afternoon.
Rally organizer Indivisible San Diego — connected to a larger movement likened by supporters to Tea Party activists and described by Trump press secretary Sean Spicer as "a very paid, Astroturf-type movement" — says they plan to continue agitating to oppose the policies of the new administration.