Travel ban sows chaos at air­ports, fu­els rage at protests

Pawtucket Times - - FRONT PAGE - By DEEPTI HAJELA

NEW YORK — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump's im­mi­gra­tion or­der sowed more chaos and out­rage across the coun­try Sun­day, with trav­el­ers get­ting de­tained at air­ports, pan­icked fam­i­lies search­ing for rel­a­tives and pro­test­ers marching against the sweep­ing mea­sure that was blocked by sev­eral fed­eral courts.

At­tor­neys strug­gled to de­ter­mine how many peo­ple had been af­fected so far by the rules, which Trump said Satur­day were "work­ing out very nicely."

But crit­ics de­scribed wide­spread con­fu­sion and said an un­told num­ber of trav­el­ers were be­ing held in le­gal limbo be­cause of ill-de­fined pro­ce­dures. Oth­ers were re­leased. Lawyers manned ta­bles at New York's Kennedy Air­port to help fam­i­lies whose loved ones had been de­tained, and some 150 Chicago-area lawyers showed up at O'Hare Air­port af­ter get­ting an email seek­ing le­gal as­sis­tance for trav­el­ers.

"We just sim­ply don't know how many peo­ple there are and where they are," said Lee Gel­ernt, deputy di­rec­tor of the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union's Im­mi­grants' Rights Project.

Ad­vo­cates for trav­el­ers say the chaos is likely to con­tinue. The ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Im­mi­gra­tion Law Cen­ter, Marie­lena Hin­capie, said "this is just the be­gin­ning."

"We're re­ally in a cri­sis mode, a con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis mode in our coun­try, and we're go­ing to need ev­ery­one," she said. "This is def­i­nitely one of those all-hand­son-deck mo­ments."

On Sun­day talk shows, White House of­fi­cials de­fended Trump's ac­tions.

"I can't imag­ine too many peo­ple out there watch­ing this right now think it's un­rea­son­able to ask a few more ques­tions from some­one trav­el­ing in and out of Libya and Ye­men be­fore be­ing let loose in the United States," White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said.

White House ad­viser Kellyanne Con­way de­scribed the

changes as "a small price to pay" to keep the na­tion safe.

By Sun­day evening, of­fi­cials said nearly all of those who had been de­tained were free or soon would be, but the sta­tus of some trav­el­ers was un­clear. The re­leased in­cluded nine peo­ple held at Dal­las-Fort Worth In­ter­na­tional Air­port, Dal­las Mayor Mike Rawl­ings' of­fice said.

The peo­ple af­fected in­cluded a woman who was sent back to Saudi Ara­bia af­ter trav­el­ing to In­di­ana to care for her can­cer-stricken mother; a fam­ily physi­cian who has lived in the U.S. for two decades who was held for nine hours; and a Min­neapo­lis woman about to be­come a U.S. cit­i­zen who was ques­tioned for 12 hours.

Mean­while, protests con­tin­ued across the coun­try Sun­day, from smaller air­ports like Rapid City Re­gional Air­port in South Dakota to one of the na­tion's busiest, Hart­field-Jack­son At­lanta In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

Demon­stra­tions first erupted Satur­day, a day af­ter Trump signed the or­der ban­ning travel to the U.S. by ci­ti­zens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Su­dan, Libya, So­ma­lia or Ye­men. The pres­i­dent also sus­pended the U.S. refugee pro­gram for four months.

In Washington D.C., hun­dreds of demonstrators gath­ered out­side the White House, some hold­ing signs that read, "We are all im­mi­grants in Amer­ica." Demon­stra­tions also un­folded at Detroit Metropoli­tan Air­port and Min­neapo­lis-St. Paul In­ter­na­tional Air­port, as well as in sub­ur­ban Chicago, where a Jewish group or­ga­nized a protest to sup­port Mus­lims.

Lawyers in Chicago crowded into a food court Satur­day at O'Hare, some walk­ing around with signs of­fer­ing le­gal help. One vol­un­teer at­tor­ney, Ju­lia Schloz­man, was among those who jumped on a sub­way and headed to O'Hare.

"I just felt like I had to do some­thing," she told the Chicago Tri­bune.

A fed­eral judge in New York is­sued an or­der Satur­day tem­po­rar­ily block­ing the gov­ern­ment from de­port­ing peo­ple with valid visas who ar­rived af­ter Trump's travel ban took ef­fect. But con­fu­sion re­mained about who could stay and who will be kept out. Fed­eral courts in Vir­ginia, Mas­sachusetts and Washington state took sim­i­lar ac­tion.

A more de­ci­sive rul­ing on the le­gal­ity of the Trump ac­tion by U.S. Dis­trict Judge Ann M. Don­nelly will prob­a­bly take at least sev­eral weeks. Op­po­nents and gov­ern­ment at­tor­neys will get a chance to lay out their ar­gu­ments in fil­ings and pos­si­bly in oral ar­gu­ments in court, Gel­ernt said. Ac­tivists said their goal was to have Trump's or­der over­turned en­tirely.

Chicago Car­di­nal Blase Cupich, known for usu­ally tem­per­ing his pub­lic com­ments, did not hold back in a state­ment Sun­day about Trump's mea­sures: "Their de­sign and im­ple­men­ta­tion have been rushed, chaotic, cruel and obliv­i­ous to the re­al­i­ties" of se­cu­rity. They had, he added, ush­ered in "a dark mo­ment in U.S. his­tory."

The pres­i­dent of the Univer­sity of Notre Dame, Fa­ther John I. Jenk­ins, was also among the ban's sharp crit­ics.

"If it stands, it will over time di­min­ish the scope and strength of the ed­u­ca­tional and re­search ef­forts of Amer­i­can uni­ver­si­ties," he said Sun­day in a state­ment. And he added: "We re­spect­fully urge the pres­i­dent to re­scind this or­der."

An of­fi­cial with the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity who briefed re­porters by phone on Satur­day said 109 peo­ple who were in tran­sit on air­planes had been de­nied en­try and 173 had not been al­lowed to get on their planes over­seas.

No green-card hold­ers were turned away from en­ter­ing the U.S. as of Satur­day, the of­fi­cial said, though sev­eral spent hours in de­ten­tion be­fore be­ing al­lowed in.

Af­ter an ap­peal from civil lib­er­ties lawyers, Judge Don­nelly is­sued an emer­gency or­der Satur­day bar­ring the U.S. from sum­mar­ily de­port­ing peo­ple who ar­rived with valid visas or an ap­proved refugee ap­pli­ca­tion, say­ing it would likely vi­o­late their le­gal rights.

Be­fore Trump signed the or­der, more than 67,000 refugees had been ap­proved by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to en­ter the U.S., said Jen Smy­ers, refugee pol­icy di­rec­tor for Church World Ser­vice. More than 6,400 had al­ready been booked on flights, in­clud­ing 15 fam­i­lies that had been ex­pected over the next few weeks in the Chicago area from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iran, Syria and Uganda.

The bulk of refugees en­ter­ing the U.S. are set­tled by re­li­gious groups. All that work ground to a halt af­ter Trump signed the or­der.

Photo for The Washington Post by Oliver Contreras

Demonstrators gather Sun­day near the White House to protest Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump's ex­ec­u­tive ac­tions on im­mi­gra­tion.

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