President Donald Trump’s sweeping ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries has sparked confusion and anger at major US airports.
Protests erupted Saturday at airports in Dallas, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, New York and elsewhere after border agents began detaining refugees and immigrants who arrived in the country a day after Trump issued an executive order reshaping the US refugee and immigration policy.
The new Republican president’s order imposes a 90-day ban on entry from citizens of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia, blocks refugees from Syria indefinitely, and suspends all refugee admissions for 120 days.
People who were already mid-flight were detained upon arrival at international airports even if they held valid visas or refugee permits, prompting an outpouring of shock and outrage.
Families anxiously waited to learn the fate of their loved ones at terminals, while protesters chanted “let them in” and “this is what America looks like.”
Some of the protest rallies were organized by the same activists who helped organize last week’s Women’s Marches in Washington and across the country following Trump’s inauguration ceremony.
Capping a day of chaos and protests, a federal judge in Brooklyn, New York, issued an emergency stay of deportations in a blow to the new administration.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit challenging Trump’s executive order on behalf of two Iraqis who were detained at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport on Friday.
ACLU lawyers successfully argued for a temporary stay, allowing detained travelers to stay in the country.
“The judge, in a nutshell, saw through what the government was doing and gave us what we wanted, which was to block the Trump order and not allow the government to remove anybody who has come and is caught up in the order, nationwide,” Lee Gelernt, deputy legal director of ACLU’s Immigrants Rights Project, told a crowd outside the courthouse.
Other civil rights and faith advocacy groups as well as Democratic politicians were furious and vowed to fight Trump’s far-reaching executive order.