Rallies have surfaced at Washington, D.C. area airports in protest of President Donald Trump’s Jan. 28 executive order that bans entry into the United States for citizens hailing from seven Muslim-majority countries.
The order, titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” prohibits individuals from entering the United States from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days, and bans individuals entering the nation from Syria indefinitely.
Although the Department of Homeland Security initially said the order included banning those holding a valid visa or green card, they rescinded that statement and said that by Sunday evening, 392 green card holders received waivers to enter the country.
Protests at Washington Dulles International Airport began Saturday evening and were arranged by an organization aiming to involve white Americans in racial justice causes, Showing Up for Racial Justice.
Chanting demonstrators at Dulles offered travelers arriving from foreign countries food, directions and other resources. The demonstrators were joined by teams of lawyers, waiting to assist travelers in need, and even Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
SURJ Organizer Cayce Utley said the rally was important to the organization because of the fear they had seen among the Muslim community since the ban was implemented.
“We spoke with some of our colleagues who are already working on this from a Muslim-led point of view, and we discussed with them whether or not it would be helpful to mobilize over the weekend at Dulles,” Utley said. “There’s been legal support and a greeting squad greeting people who are coming off of the international flights. We’re just trying to offer moral support in any way we can.”
Aniqa Raihan, a senior at the George Washington University, is planning a continuation of the protests at Reagan National Airport on Wednesday. She emphasized the personal importance of continued protests, as she is the child of Muslim immigrants to the U.S.
“I am a human being with compassion and respect for my fellow people,” Raihan said. “I believe in the rights of refugees and in the dignity and value of immigrants. It has always been important to fight for the rights of people who aren’t yourself or your family, but it is especially important now as fear tests our collective commitment to justice.”
However, some feel that the protests are an extreme reaction to Trump’s order. Jared Horne (COL ’19) noted that other presidents have capped refugee admissions to the U.S., but did not receive the public objections that Trump has.
“The fact that multiple presidents in the past have done the same, and they’re yelling that he’s a racist for it? They’re hating Trump just to hate Trump,” Horne said. “They don’t look at what’s happened in the past. They’re just creating more of a diverge between Republicans and Democrats. If it was Obama saying this, I don’t believe that they would be protesting.”
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