President Trump’s order to suspend the country’s refugee program and temporarily ban immigration from seven mostly-Muslim nations erupted Sunday into a full-scale political battle — with Trump and top aides defending the move amid nationwide protests and congressional Democrats vowing a relentless Capitol Hill fight to undo the order.
protesters rallied across the country against President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
Throngs of people gathered Sunday afternoon outside the White House. Crowds also formed in Boston’s Copley Square, at Battery Park in Manhattan and at airports in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Washington and Dallas.Crowds gathered outside airports across the country, cheering as detained travelers started to leave.These follow demonstrations that erupted Saturday over Trump’s travel ban. Issued Friday night, it bars entry to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia. Part of the ban was halted by a judge in a federal court in New York on Saturday.
In New York, six more people were released late Sunday morning after being detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport the day before.
Weekend of protest
Crowds had gathered at JFK on Saturday to protest the detention of two Iraqis who were later released. Protests also sprung up at a handful of other airports where people were blocked trying to enter the country.”Mr. President, look at us,” said US Rep. Nydia Velazquez, a New York Democrat. “This is America. What you have done is shameful. It’s un-American.”The protesters gathered in Terminal 4 at JFK and carried signs reading, “We are all immigrants!” and “No ban! No wall!”
Several New York officials showed support for the protests.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to reverse an earlier decision to restrict passage aboard the JFK Airport AirTrain to ticketed passengers and airport employees only.He also instructed state police and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to assist with security and transportation for protesters.”The people of New York will have their voices heard,” Cuomo said.New York Mayor Bill de Blasio posted a series of tweets calling the travel ban “shameful” and “simply un-American.” He later tweeted of photo of himself addressing protesters Sunday at New York’s Battery Park.
One of the detained Iraqis at JFK, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, was released early Saturday afternoon. He worked with the US government for 10 years after the United States invaded Iraq.
The other detained Iraqi, Haider Sameer Abdulkaleq Alshawi, had been granted a visa to join his wife, who worked for a US contractor in Iraq, and son, both of whom already live in the United States as refugees. Alshawi was released later Saturday.The American Civil Liberties Union argued Saturday evening in a federal court in New York for a nationwide stay that would block the deportation of all people stranded in US airports under what the group called “President Trump’s new Muslim ban.”
A federal judge in New York granted an emergency stay Saturday night for citizens of the seven Muslim-majority countries who have already arrived in the United States and those who are in transit, and who hold valid visas, ruling they cannot be removed from the United States.That move limited part of President Trump’s executive order barring citizens from those countries from entering the United States for the next 90 days.Rep. Jerrold Nadler, another Democrat from New York, said some 10 other travelers were detained, but their status was unclear.Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe joined protesters at Dulles International Airport outside Washington.”This executive order is antithetical to the values that make America great, and it will make our country less safe,” he said in a statement.
At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, an estimated 2,000 people turned out to protest the President’s immigration policies on Saturday.The loud protests boiled over inside the terminal, blocking the arrival level escalators early Sunday morning.
‘The last straw’
In Portland, one demonstrator carried a sign that said, “Portland coffee comes from Yemen,” one of the seven Muslim-majority nations on the no-travel list.
Lucia Martinez told KATU she used to be a “hashtag activist” but felt compelled to protest at the airport.
“This was the last straw,” she said of Trump’s policies. “We’re all immigrants.”
A group of community activists, attorneys and others gathered at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.
In Atlanta, all 11 people detained at Hartsfield-Jackson International airport were cleared and released, according to a tweet from Mayor Kasim Reed at 11:30 p.m. Saturday.
Protests also took place at airports in Boston; San Francisco, Denver, Dallas and Newark, New Jersey.