The U.S. erupted again on Saturday, January 28, just a week after the unprecedented Women’s Marches brought together millions in opposition to Trump’s policies. In instant and massive revulsion against Trump’s suddenly-imposed “Muslim ban,” forbidding entry into the U.S. by people from seven predominantly-Muslim countries, thousands of Americans came out to protest the next day at airports from coast to coast. Their signs welcomed the refugees, immigrants and visitors who had boarded airplanes legally with visas, only to be detained when they arrived. Also banned were all refugees, for a period of four months.
Trump issued the ban by Executive Order on Friday. It outlaws entry into the U.S. by people from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. The White House’s attempt to avoid blatant illegality by not banning people solely for being Muslims, is transparent.
Protests spread within hours from New York to airports in Philadelphia, Washington, Boston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Houston, Dallas, Chicago and Detroit. There was a large rally Friday night in Manhattan, right after the ban was signed. Saturday at New York’s Kennedy Airport, thousands of people stopped traffic for several hours, and hundreds remain there in the middle of the night. Taxi drivers boycotted the airport in support of the protest. A second demonstration in Brooklyn is also still going on tonight, even after a temporary legal victory against the ban. More protests are called for tomorrow.
The federal agency in charge says it has 170 people in detention at airports. They will not be deported now because at 9:00 p.m., federal district judge Ann M. Donnelly in Brooklyn issued a restraining order against the Executive Order. This forbids the new arrivals’ deportation, but leaves them in detention and in limbo at the airports. Several law suits were brought by the American and the New York Civil Liberties Unions.
From the pictures, it is clear that the protesters are not predominantly Middle Eastern or African, but are all kinds of Americans who came to protest for the sake of human decency. Refugees from war-torn areas, if returned to their countries, face the possibility of death. Demonstrators also pointed out that this country was built by immigrants, and carried signs proclaiming that immigrants make the U.S. great! And they expressed fear for all of our Constitutional rights if this ban stands–it violates several Constitutional provisions.
There can be no logical reason for this ban because those are not the countries of origin of the people who have attacked the U.S. The 9/11 attackers were mostly Saudi Arabian. But that country is an important U.S. ally, whereas the banned countries are mostly in the midst of wars or have unstable political governments. Moreover, the mass shootings and bombings in the U.S. since 9/11, and most of those in Europe, have been perpetrated by home-grown terrorists, not immigrants.
Trump imposed the ban in order to carry out his campaign promises. With his approval rating sinking, he is trying to rally his base. He and his top aides spent much of his one week in office attacking the media—his white supremacist chief policy adviser Steve Bannon declared the press to be the new “opposition party”–and threatening “sanctuary cities,” those that have pledged not to cooperate with federal authorities in rounding up undocumented immigrants.