Protests Of President Trump's Refugee Ban Break Out At Airports Across America

Photo: Craig Ruttle/AP Images.
When President Donald Trump's executive order to ban refugees from the United States left 12 refugees detained at New York City's John F. Kennedy airport, city residents showed up to protest.

NBC New York reported that Terminal 4, the international arrivals at JFK, was flooded with thousands of people who were opposed to Trump's order to suspend immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia — for 90 days.

Admission of Syrian refugees has been stopped indefinitely, while entry of all refugees to the United States is suspended for 120 days. The executive order also bars green card holders from those seven countries from re-entering the United States, according to The Department of Homeland Security.

"We're here to tell Trump that we are not going anywhere," lawyer and refugee advocate Jacki Esposito, who helped organise the protest, said. "Today is the beginning of a long opposition from us and our neighbours all over the country."

One of the refugees who was detained at JFK was Hameed Jhalid Darweesh, who worked with the U.S. in Iraq as an interpreter for the U.S. Army, according to The New York Times. Darweesh, who had been targeted twice for working with the U.S. military, was held for 19 hours before being released Saturday afternoon.

Eleven others are still being detained from JFK, according to New York Democratic Congress members Jerry Nadler and Nydia Velazquez, who took part in the protest.

"Mr. President, look around, this is America," Velazquez told the crowd. "What you've done is shameful."

New York wasn't the only city that was affected by Trump's immediate ban. The New York Times reported that "an Iranian scientist headed to a lab in Boston, an Iraqi who had worked for a decade as an interpreter for the United States Army, and a Syrian refugee family headed to a new life in Ohio," were all detained at their points of entry.

“We’ve gotten reports of people being detained all over the country,” Becca Heller, the director of the International Refugee Assistance Project, told the Times. “They’re literally pouring in by the minute.”

The New Yorker shared a story of an Iraqi woman who was hoping to come to America to be with her boyfriend but was stopped at the airport. Ironically, she is a Yazidi, a pre-Islamic religion whose people have been persecuted by the Islamic state.

According to Bloomberg, Google has told more than 100 employees travelling overseas to return to the U.S. immediately, so they don't get shut out of the country. In a statement, a spokeswoman said, "We’re concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that create barriers to bringing great talent to the U.S. We’ll continue to make our views on these issues known to leaders in Washington and elsewhere."

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit on behalf of those who have been affected by President Trump's Muslim ban. “President Trump's war on equality is already taking a terrible human toll," Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said. "This ban cannot be allowed to continue.”

According to The Guardian, The Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair) will file a lawsuit against Trump's order on Monday, arguing that it violates the constitution.

Danielle Drake, a community relations manager at US Together, which helps refugees resettle in America, told The New York Times that this ban was reminiscent of how the United States turned away Jewish refugees during World War II. “All those times that people said, ‘Never again,’" Drake said. "Well, we’re doing it again."

The the same day Trump signed his executive order to ban refugees he also signed an order declaring it Holocaust Remembrance Day.
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