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Photos: Chicagoans Protest Trump's Immigration Ban & Detentions At O'Hare

By aaroncynic in News on Jan 28, 2017 10:35PM

Update, 10:25 p.m.:

All detainees that were held at O'Hare have been released, lawyers told a throng of celebrating protesters at the airport. Each of the detainees were green card or visa holders or on advanced parole for green cards, according to reports.

Update 9:49 p.m.:
Protesters continue to fill Terminal 5 as at least 12 people are reportedly still detained.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel called for a list from the federal government of names anyone being detained at O'Hare or Midway and urged the release of anyone "unjustly affected."

A federal judge ordered an emergency stay that allows those who have landed with visas to stay.

Confusion and outrage continue to build across the nation in the wake of President Donald Trump’s executive order that blocks refugees from entering the United States and bans all people from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

Trump and his loyalists have said the order, which bans travel to the U.S. from those countries for at least 90 days and suspends the refugee program for 120, will help to fight terrorism. Critics and other more rational people, however, have said that the order not only undermines US security at home and abroad, but widely discriminates against Muslims and others from the Middle East. The order was also signed while many refugee families and others targeted by the ban were already in transit to the United States, causing people to become stranded or detained at airports around the country.

A man, woman and their young child who were traveling from Iran were detained at O'Hare on Saturday, before eventually being released. The man, Hessam Noorian, a green card holder and Park Ridge resident, was detained for five hours. As of 8 p.m. on Saturday, there were between 12 and 14 people being detained, all of whom reportedly had legal status in the country. More than a dozen lawyers were on hand at the airport after a request was issued by immigrants-rights lawyers organizations. U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky was also working to secure the release of detainees. As many as 18 people were detained, including legal permanent residents and two babies, according to U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth.

Duckworth said in a statement:

"I wish the President had realized that governing in a fair and just manner is harder than rallying crowds with catchphrases before human lives were affected, as they were by today's needless and dehumanizing detentions at O'Hare and airports around the country. Stopping legal permanent residents and babies simply because of where they're from is not the American way and it doesn't make us safer. This Muslim ban must end."

“Today we stand with our Syrian brothers and sisters, the Muslim community and all those refugees and immigrants who are being used as scapegoats by the current administration,” said Lawrence Benito, chief executive officer of Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights in a statement yesterday. “We will push back against this and other executive orders and will not give into the rhetoric of a fear and nationalism. Our communities are strong, diverse and resilient. We are here to support each other and we are here to stay.”

A heartbreaking scene played out yesterday at O’Hare Airport as when a group of co-sponsors tweeted out a group photo awaiting one of the last Syrian families to enter the country.

Local opponents of Trump’s ban, which interestingly does not include several Muslim-majority countries where he has business dealings, are gathering at Terminal 5 at O’Hare for a protest and vigil to support those affected by it.

“By protesting President Trump’s blatantly discriminatory order hundreds of Chicagoans will show our city rejects his bigotry,” said the Arab American Action Network in a joint press release with several other local immigrants rights organizations.

While the action did not officially begin until 6:00 p.m. people began gathering at the airport as early as 4 p.m.

More than a thousand people protested at the airport, demonstrating at Terminal 5 and marching inside the O'Hare terminal. CTA trains were flooded with people heading to the action early on Saturday evening.

Traffic was snarled at Terminal 5 as protesters marched through lanes, blocked vehicles from passing and chanted "Our streets!"

This post will be updated as the story develops.