Lutfa Adnan and her family joined thousands of vocal protesters at Philadelphia International Airport Jan. 29, chanting “Let them in!” Demonstrators said they were speaking out against President Donald Trump’s executive order placing temporary bans on entry into the U.S. by people from seven Muslim-majority nations.
“It was so energizing, my heart was aching,” Adnan of Cherry Hill, N.J., explained to the AmNews. “It was so painful to see what was happening on television. I had to be there.”
Sara Flounders, a member of the NYC-based Workers Organization explained in an email to the AmNews the feelings of the thousands who had descended on JFK Airport Jan. 28. “Tonight was a vibrant display of ‘People Power.’” stated Flounders, co-founder of the International Action Network. “The speed of Trump’s proclamation was intended to demoralize and overwhelm the whole population. The opposite happened.”
Flounders added, “Every minute of tonight was an incredible, empowering experience.”
However, the 45th president showed that he would not be swayed by the tens of thousands who had taken to the streets when, on Jan. 31, he fired Acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates. According to CNN, she told Justice Department lawyers not to defend Trump’s executive order on Muslim immigrants and refugees because it was unlawful.
Reportedly, Trump notified the defiant Yates via a hand-delivered letter while a new acting attorney general was sworn in. The president said Yates had “betrayed” the Justice Department, according to CNN. Meanwhile, protests have moved into the fourth day, as Huffington Post released a statement from former President Barack Obama’s spokesman that said, “President Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country.”
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) also on Jan. 29 called on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General to immediately initiate an independent investigation into the agency’s potentially illegal implementation of Trump’s executive order.
In the letter, obtained by the AmNews the Senators asked how U.S. Customs and Border Protection prepared to implement the executive order and what guidance they provided to the White House during its development.
New York State politicians jumped into the fray Jan. 30. Queens Senator Leroy Comrie (D) in an email message to the AmNews stated, “Today, I joined my fellow Democrats in the State Senate in announcing the Resistance Agenda, three bills designed to protect refugees, immigrants and foreign students from the harmful consequences of the president’s recent actions.”
The state legislators have also established a 24-hour, toll-free hotline at 1-888-769-7243 for anyone who suspects that their friends or family may have been detained.
On the international front, the group founded by the former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, known as The Elders, which consists of Martti Ahtisaari, Kofi Annan (chair), Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Harlem Brundtland (deputy chair), Hina Jilani, Ricardo Lagos, Graça Machel, Mary Robinson and Ernesto Zedillo, took issue with Trump’s executive order.
“It is deeply regrettable that a nation of immigrants should turn its back so harshly on refugees escaping violence and war,” Annan, a former U.N. secretary-general, said.
Organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization say they will turn to the courts to stop Trump’s Muslim ban. CAIR held a news conference in Washington, DC Jan. 30 to announce the filing of a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the president’s executive order.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, states that the order is unconstitutional because its apparent purpose and underlying motive is to ban people of the Islamic faith in Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D) of California joined Democrats from the House and Senate on the steps of the Supreme Court on the evening of Jan. 30. “As a nation of immigrants, we are morally compelled to keep our doors open to those in need – that’s who we are,” stated Lee.
Daniel Altschuler, press contact for of Make the Road New York, one of the main sponsors of the Saturday and Sunday rallies in NYC explained the feeling of the organization going forward. “We don’t have a date on the next action against the refugee and Muslim ban,” he told the AmNews. However, that doesn’t mean there is nothing planned. “I think what is important is that the mobilizations on Saturday and Sunday demonstrated the importance of strong grassroots organizations,” Altschuler continued, “a good moment in showing how New York can be the point of the spear—putting people in the position to begin a national conversation.”
Somali American activist Sadia Aden said, “Let us revive or learn community activism so we can together push back on President Trump’s selective policies. In the meantime, have faith and remain patient.”