Thousands of protesters flooded airports across the United States over the weekend after President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday temporarily banning all refugees from entering the country, and barring access for 90 days to nationals from seven majority-Muslim nations. The draconian measure instantly cut off access to the U.S. to 218 million people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It indefinitely suspended the admission of Syrian refugees. Across the world, travelers were left stranded, while scores were detained by customs officials after landing at U.S. airports. As news of the order spread on Saturday, thousands gathered at John F. Kennedy airport in New York City for a protest. They packed the space outside Terminal 4, chanting “Let them in!”
Protester: “I’m here as a Jewish American who is very aware of what we did just a couple generations ago, and I don’t want to see us do this again. Muslims are my brothers, and they deserve to be here just as much as I do. And no person is illegal.”
President Trump’s order drew immediate legal challenges, and by Sunday judges in California, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia and Washington issued temporary stays blocking the deportation of valid visa holders. But some lawmakers report Customs and Border Protection officers are defying the courts. Congressmember Don Beyer of Virginia said officials at Dulles airport outside Washington, D.C., refused to comment on whether they were detaining travelers, and had denied them access to lawyers. Rep. Beyer tweeted, “We have a constitutional crisis today. Four Members of Congress asked CBP officials to enforce a federal court order and were turned away.” In Los Angeles, police in riot gear deployed Sunday as thousands of demonstrators blocked traffic near the Tom Bradley International Terminal. Thousands more rallied at airports in Chicago, Denver, Atlanta, Houston, Seattle and elsewhere. In San Francisco, demonstrators blocked all security entry points in SFO’s international terminal on Sunday. This is Lara Kiswani, executive director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center.
Lara Kiswani: “We’re asking workers to stand with us and not comply to these racist orders. We’re asking lawyers to stay on our side and continue to defend these immigrants and refugees. And we’re asking people to continue to show up for as long as it takes. And as harsh and as difficult as this may seem for the people out here staying hours and hours, we can only imagine what the detainees and the refugees and immigrants are experiencing on the other side of it. So we want to show courage and discipline and rigor, and make sure that they know they’re going to be supported. And we’re in this for the long run, until we defeat Trump.”