Immigrants Detained Immediately After Trump’s Anti-Muslim Order—Thousands Protest at JFK and Airports Across the Country
January 28, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
January 28, 2017:
JFK Airport, NYC
Protest of Trump's Muslim ban at JFK international arrivals terminal. pic.twitter.com/qyLxa8eYco— Melissa Gira Grant (@melissagira) January 28, 2017
JFK Airport, NYC
O'Hare Airport, Chicago
JFK Airport, NYC
Denver International Airport, CO
Washington Dulles Airport, Virginia
Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, Dallas, TX
Seattle–Tacoma Airport, Seattle, WA
When Trump signed an executive order on Friday targeting Muslim immigrants and refugees (see “‘Extreme Vetting’=Extreme Cruelty and Racism, with a Genocidal Logic”), there were immigrants already in the air on the way to the U.S. or waiting to board planes at overseas airports. The order immediately shut the door on them, and some were taken into detention.
Hundreds of people quickly gathered at JFK Airport to demand the release of refugees who had begun their trip to the U.S. before Trump signed his order, and were then detained when they landed. The protest grew to more than 2,000 by late afternoon and early evening (see “From the JFK Protest: Thousands Block Airport Street: ‘No deportations. No Muslim registry. No fascist USA!’”). This is very good—and something everyone should learn from: the Trump-Pence regime’s fascist actions must not become normalized but must be resisted immediately. The JFK action denounced the detentions and the Trump ban on Muslim immigrants and refugees, and called for welcoming refugees and immigrants. Michael Moore tweeted out a call for people to come to join the JFK protest. One of the chants raised by the protesters is “Hey, hey, JFK—No Fascist USA!”
People mobilized to protest at airports in other cities across the U.S., including Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Boston, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Newark, and Denver
The ACLU and the Council on American-Islamic Relations are filing lawsuits challenging Trump’s order. Omar Jadwat, director of ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said, “President Trump's war on equality is already taking a terrible human toll. This ban cannot be allowed to continue.” Saturday night, a judge in Brooklyn, New York, issued a stay on a part of Trump’s executive order—ruling that the affected refugees and immigrants who arrived yesterday in the U.S. should not be sent back. This is estimated to affect 200 people across the U.S. And the order also said immigrants and refugees with approved documents who were about to come to the U.S. should also not be sent back to their countries of origin. But it is not clear at all as of Saturday night what will happen to these people, and it is possible the 200 or so in the U.S. airports may be sent to detention centers.
Trump’s order puts a freeze on all refugees from entering the U.S. and an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria. It also put into effect a ban on any immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries entering the U.S. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee said they received more than 1,000 calls by noon on Saturday from people who had been stranded or detained at U.S. and overseas airports as a result of Trump’s order.
Among the 11 people detained at the JFK Airport in New York City were two Iraqi refugees. One had worked as an interpreter for the U.S. in Iraq was detained for 19 hours before being released. With tears in his eyes as he spoke to reporters, he put his hands behind his back to show how he had been handcuffed by border agents. Another man was still in custody as of Saturday afternoon; when his lawyer asked a border agent “Who is the person we need to talk to?”, the agent said, “Call Mr. Trump.”
According to USA Today, “Abed Ayoud, legal and policy director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said legal immigrants who were traveling overseas to attend funerals and visit family when Trump signed his order are now unable to return to the U.S. Foreigners studying at U.S. universities who were part of study abroad programs are also stuck.”
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on a Syrian family—two parents and four kids aged 6 to 15—who were due to finally leave the Turkish refugee camp they are in early next week and arrive to re-settle in Cleveland. Their plans are now scrapped—like many others from Syria and other countries who are trying to flee desperate and dangerous conditions. Danielle Drake, an official with the refugee resettlement organization in Cleveland, noted to the Plain Dealer that this was taking place on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and said, “That this can happen on this day is disturbing on so many levels. All those times that people said ‘never again,’ well we’re doing it again. We’re turning people away again (referring to U.S. turning away of Jewish refugees before World War 2). Have we not learned from the past?”
What happened on the very first day under Trump’s order for “extreme vetting” of Muslim refugees and immigrants is an outrage. And it indicates a very ominous logic and direction, including very possibly registry, round-ups and other genocidal attacks on Muslim people here in the U.S.
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