Protests erupt across the country after Trump immigration ban
Protests broke out across communities and airports around the country this weekend after President Donald Trump signed an executive order restricting immigration from a selection of Muslim-majority countries, suspended refugee admission for 120 days and banned Syrian refugees indefinitely, according to CNN.
The executive order targets Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen — leaving families and individuals who had applied for visas or refugee status unable to enter the country.
The ban itself caused uproar across the country, but the fact that refugees and visa holders were stranded at airports, unsure of their futures, fueled the flames for protest.
Al Jazeera reports thousands gathered outside the White House and in New York's Battery Park overlooking the Statue of Liberty to protest on Saturday. ABC News also shared footage of thousands gathering in Boston to protest the ban.
CNN reports protests also broke out at the country's major airports, with people stretching from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Washington, Dallas, New York's JFK, Raleigh, Houston, Seattle, Portland and Atlanta, holding signs and chanting, "No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here."
Saturday, the Atlantic reports, the Trump administration expanded the immigration ban to also include green-card holders, leaving legal residents who returned from the barred countries to visit family or travel for work unable to re-enter the United States. The Atlantic reports a senior official went on to tell them each green card holder would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
In total, 200 to 250 people were detained at airports across the country, even though last week their visas would have been valid, according to Vox. Vox went on to report that in response to protests and backlash, some courts across the United States did order stays on the immigration ban, overriding Trump's executive order and allowing visa-holding detainees to be released. But Vox says another 348 were restricted from entering the country entirely by Sunday night.
Now the protests against the ban are continuing into the week.
The Verge reported Google employees staged walkouts around the globe Monday, and hundreds of U.S. diplomats are signing various petitions against the ban, according to Foreign Policy. Time also reported Monday that congressional Democrats staged a protest on the steps of the Supreme Court.
A refusal to enforce the ban, a protest in its own, cost acting attorney general Sally Yates her job, according to Bloomberg. The news organization reports Yates instructed Justice Department staff to not enforce the executive order, saying she thought it was illegal. The White House said they removed Yates for “refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States."
Bloomberg goes on to report that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke out on the ousting saying in a statement, “The attorney general should be loyal and pledge fidelity to the law, not the White House. The fact that this administration doesn’t understand that is chilling.”
Republicans are also speaking out against the executive order, ABC News reporting that Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham issued a joint statement reading, in part, "We are particularly concerned by reports that this order went into effect with little to no consultation with the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security. ... Such a hasty process risks harmful results."
President Trump hasn't backed down amid the protests, backlash or criticism, though. ABC News reports the president released a statement justifying his choices, saying the countries chosen for the immigration bar were "identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror."
ABC News reports the statement went on to read, "To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion — this is about terror and keeping our country safe."
Trump's immigration ban does not cover all Muslim-majority countries. But the president was accused of, and questioned for, excluding countries where he might have business interests.
The countries in question, as reported by ABC News, are Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates — the same countries the 9/11 hijackers originated from. ABC News reports they have found Trump business interests in the UAE, but any interests in the other countries are still unknown.