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Photos: Hundreds Shut Down O'Hare Terminal To Demand Release Of Detainees

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Jan 29, 2017 5:15AM

Hundreds, if not thousands, of Chicago-area protesters crowded an O'Hare International Airport Terminal Saturday night to protest the detainment of over a dozen people from Middle Eastern countries who flew into O'Hare Saturday on the heels of an unprecedented and disturbing federal ban on immigration and travel from 7 predominantly Muslim countries to the U.S.

After hours of protests and behind-the-scenes legal work at O'Hare and other international airports around the country, all of the detainees that were being held at O'Hare —each of whom reportedly had visas or green cards or were on advanced parole for green cards—were released around 10:30 p.m., as lawyers told a group of celebrating protesters at the airport.

Protesters packed O'Hare's Terminal 5 and marched outside the airport in solidarity with the detainees, whom Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement were being "unjustly affected" by the immigration ban, imposed by President Donald Trump via executive order this weekend in a manner that has upset the travel plans of an unknown number of travelers, at times leaving people stranded at airports around the world and their families confused and separated. Many protesters carried signs with similar sentiments questioning the ban's legality and the message it sends the world about American values, such as "Let's make history by not allowing history to repeat itself!!" and "#Muslim Ban is un-American and it's illegal."

With thousands around the country protesting the ban, a federal judge in the Eastern District of New York ordered an emergency stay on the so-called Muslim Ban, which led to the release of many detainees on Saturday night.