A STAND AT O’HARE
LAWYERS, PROTESTERS FLOCKED TO AIRPORT AS TRAVELERS WERE HELD OVER TRUMP ORDER
U.S. authorities took more than a dozen travelers into custody Saturday at O’Hare International Airport in response to President Trump’s immigration order—but lawyers who came to their aid said all were set free after a federal judge temporarily barred deportations.
The Trump crackdown on immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries set off a tumultuous day at O’Hare as frantic relatives, hundreds of protesters and the volunteer lawyers gathered at the airport.
Trump’s executive order, signed late Friday afternoon, suspends entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, bars Syrian refugees indefinitely and blocks entry for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The Department of Homeland Security
said that the order also bars green-card holders from those countries from re-entering the United States, and White House officials said Saturday that they would need a case-by-case waiver to return to the United States. But On NBC News’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said, “As far as green-card holders going forward, it doesn’t affect them.”
HELD AT O’HARE
Even before a federal judge in New York ruled to block the U.S. from sending people out of the country under Trump’s order, a few of those being held at O’Hare had already been released after hours of questioning. They included Hessan Noorian, a Park Ridge resident returning with his family from Iran.
Noorian has a green card, as well as British and Iranian citizenship, and his wife, Zehra Amirisefat, is a U.S. citizen. Their son, Ryan, was born six months ago in suburban Chicago. They had been visiting Tehran to introduce their child to their family.
When they landed at O’Hare around noon Saturday, immigration officers told them Noorian could not enter the country without answering some questions, Amirisefat said. They waved her and the baby through, but, despite her husband’s urging her to go home, she refused to leave without him.
“I was scared,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen to him, if they would send him back. I wasn’t going to leave him to go through that alone.”
The couple, who said they work at Oakton Community College, then texted Amirisefat’s brother and submitted to five hours of onand-off questioning. The treatment during his time in custody was neither abusive nor exemplary, she said. She was allowed to nurse her son in a private room after making several requests, and her husband was given juice when he felt his blood sugar levels drop.
The couple—jet-lagged from their 20-hour trip home from Iran—looked tired and confused as they exited customs around 5:30 p.m. Noorian carried the names of about a dozen people he said were still being held and phone numbers for their relatives.
Noorian’s brother-in-law, Mohammad Amirisefat, said before Noorian’s release: “This is insulting. This is insane, this is truly insane.” After the release, Noorian’s wife said: “I can’t believe something like this can happen to someone with a green card.”
LAWYERS, PROTESTERS, CHICAGOANS RESPOND
Hundreds of people protested inside and outside O’Hare’s international terminal Saturday
Protesters gather at O’Hare airport on Sunday. LENNY GILMORE/REDEYE PHOTOS