SEATTLE (AP) - Washington Gov. Jay Inslee blasted President Donald Trump’s executive order banning people from certain Muslim-majority nations as “unjustifiable cruelty,” and about 1,000 pro-immigration protesters gathered Saturday at Seattle-Tacoma Airport.
Attorneys from the ACLU and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project said a Somali national was not allowed to enter and two other people were detained at the airport.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly in Seattle issued an order Saturday halting any deportations related to Trump’s order after immigration advocates filed an emergency motion arguing that the president’s actions violated the due process rights of the immigrants.
Doug Honig, a spokesman for the ACLU of Washington state, told The Seattle Times Zilly granted a motion for an emergency stay to prevent the two people who were detained at Sea-Tac Airport from being sent out of the country on a flight to Dubai.
Trump signed an executive order Friday that bans legal U.S. residents and visa-holders from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the U.S. for 90 days and puts an indefinite hold on a program resettling Syrian refugees.
At a fiery news conference denouncing Trump’s order, Inslee said he had met with a woman, a U.S. citizen, whose husband was denied entry at Sea-Tac airport after flying from Vienna. It wasn’t clear if Inslee was speaking about the same traveler or if multiple people were detained.
The United States “allowed her husband to get on a plane in Vienna but didn’t let him go the six feet across this gate to embrace his wife,” Inslee said of the man.
Inslee said he was trying to get details on those turned away and had spoken with someone in the Trump administration by phone. He compared Trump’s order to the detention of Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
“The manifest and unjustifiable cruelty caused by President Trump’s executive order is now on full display here at Seattle International Airport, and the gross incompetence and ineffectiveness of this action . is on full display here at Seattle,” Inslee said.
In a statement, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Trump’s executive order was “un-American and unconstitutional.”
“My team and I are working this weekend to explore our options to oppose this illegal action,” Ferguson said. “The rule of law applies to everyone - including President Trump - and I will use the authority of my office to hold him accountable to it.”
At Sea-Tac, about 3,000 protesters holding signs and chanting “no hatred, no fear, immigrants are welcome here” and “let them in” gathered Saturday evening and continued protesting into early Sunday morning.
Aayah Khalaf, a Muslim American, was sitting at home watching the protest on television when she and her friend studying from Egypt decided to join the rally. It was her second time joining a protest. The first one was the Women’s March.
“It’s not just against Muslims. It against environmental rights and human rights overall. I think everybody has to stand up against this,” said Khalaf, 29.
The Port of Seattle Commissioners, which oversees the airport, issued a statement criticizing the executive order.
“The Port of Seattle Commissioners, Tom Albro, Courtney Gregoire, Stephanie Bowman, Fred Felleman and John Creighton are here today to express our concerns over the immigration ban executive order that was issued late last night. As the government that operates this airport, this executive order runs counter to our values. America is great because we are a land of immigrants and that is what made us great to begin with,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, protesters briefly shut down a light rail line at Portland International Airport, and protesters also converged at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York where 12 refugees were detained Saturday under the order.
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