Protests At Sea-Tac Airport After Immigration Executive Order
Cheers erupted from a crowd of protesters at Sea-Tac Airport on Saturday after hearing that a federal judge in New York put a hold on part of President Donald Trump’s executive order restricting immigration.
On Friday, Trump signed an executive order banning legal U.S. residents and visa holders from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the U.S. for 90 days. It also puts an indefinite hold on a program resettling Syrian refugees.
The judge prohibited the U.S. government from deporting travelers with valid visas covered by the Trump order.
Saturday evening, hundreds of protesters gathered at airports around the country, including Sea-Tac, to voice their opposition to the White House directive.
Demonstrators gathered in the baggage area at Sea-Tac where international arrivals typically emerge. Among the crowd was U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle.
The crowd chanted “Let them in,” and held signs reading “No Ban, No Wall” and “Solidarity Not Oppression.”
Earlier Saturday, a Somali national was not allowed to enter the United States at Sea-Tac Airport, according to an attorney for an immigrant rights nonprofit. It was reported by other news outlets that more people had been detained, but details were not immediately available.
Matt Adams, legal director at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, said in an email Saturday that he was filing emergency legal paperwork to help the Somali traveler.
Adams did not immediately provide more details, and calls to airport officials were not immediately returned.
At a fiery news conference denouncing Trump's order, Gov. Jay Inslee said he had met with a woman, a U.S. citizen, whose husband was denied entry at the Seattle 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 fighting 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.
Tech companies also criticized the executive order. Google, Apple and other tech giants expressed dismay. The tech industry relies on foreign engineers and other technical experts for a significant percentage of its workforce.
Microsoft said it would provide fast legal advice and assistance to employees and their families.
“As an immigrant and as a CEO, I’ve both experienced and seen the positive impact that immigration has on our company, for the country and for the world,” Chief Executive Satya Nadella said in a letter to employees. “We will continue to advocate on this important topic.”
Apple said it would reach out the the White House to explain the negative effect on its workers.
In Portland, protesters briefly shut down a light-rail line at Portland International Airport, and hundreds of protesters also converged at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York where 12 refugees were detained Saturday under the order.