Scenes from the American resistance
Trump said, ‘We don’t want them here.’ America said, ‘Yes, we do.’
On Friday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning the entry of Muslims from seven countries from entering the United States. The order took immediate effect, with refugees and green card holders around the world suddenly locked out. In many cases—such as the Iranian Clemson professor who has lived in the U.S. for seven years and can’t return from a trip to Tehran—well-established expats were instantly uprooted from their homes.
The most dramatic scenes took place at airports, where, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, between 100 and 200 people were detained by border guards for hours. Many were held incommunicado all day. One was a 5-year-old child. Two of them asked ACLU lawyers to challenge the legality of deporting them back to their countries of origin, and on Saturday night a federal judge in Brooklyn granted a stay—freezing the government’s ability to deport refugees already in the U.S. pending a full hearing.
It didn’t mean everyone would be released quickly, however. So, in New York, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Washington and elsewhere, protesters converged on airport terminals with hastily made posters, encouraged by the arrival of celebrities and politicians. Michael Moore implored his Twitter followers to go to John F. Kennedy International Airport where people chanted “Let them in!”
In Seattle and San Francisco, protesters staged a sit-in, blocking entrances to the airpot until every detainee was released.
And they turned the terminal into something more closely resembling a Seahawks football game.
Past midnight it became clear that not all the detainees would be released. There didn’t appear to be any consistency in who was detained or who was released. In some cases, border guards were still preventing detainees from having access to lawyers.
But there were enough positive moments to suggest that the protests and the intercession of lawmakers and civil rights attorneys had made a difference.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported the number of banned countries as six. There are seven: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia.