NEW YORK – On Saturday evening, U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly of the Eastern District of New York issued a temporary nationwide injunction to block the deportation of people stranded in U.S. airports due to President Trump’s new refugee and Muslim ban (see the reactions of ACLU and NILC to the stay orders).
On a press call held today, refugee and immigrant advocates and experts joined with members of the Darweesh v. Trump litigation team, who had filed the emergency lawsuit on behalf of two Iraqi refugees with valid entry permits who were detained at JFK airport. In addition to describing the scope and implications of the legal ruling, speakers highlighted the chaos that continues to result from this discriminatory and unconstitutional executive order and reacted to the outpouring of support from Americans who are showing up at airports.
Also, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson released a statement denouncing the on-going detention of immigrants with proper visas and related paperwork:
“I stand in solidarity with the refugees, immigrants and their loved ones who are being banned from entering our country. This does not represent the America that is made up of immigrants or the values we cherish, one being freedom of religion.
“Yesterday across the nation and here at the Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport many people were being detained and were not allowed entry into our country. This was all a result of the most recent executive action signed by President Trump banning individuals from seven dominant Muslim countries to enter our country. During this time there is a lot of confusion and families being torn apart. I am aware and waiting to be fully briefed on how many people are being detained at the DFW airport, so my staff and I can fully provide assistance and guidance to those who need it.”
Disturbingly, the speakers highlighted numerous examples of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) personnel refusing to comply with the judge’s nationwide ruling, as well as the continued failure of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide accessible information and clear guidance.
Noting the noncompliance, Becca Heller, Director and Co-Founder of International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), stated that despite the legal victory leading to a temporary injunction, “there is a lot more work to be done.” Heller described that in addition to “rogue CBP agents not following orders, we heard over a dozen instances of attempts to coerce people to surrender their green card and take ‘voluntary departure.’ The government must provide the names of those being detained as their legal rights are being egregiously violated and need to be fought.”
Marielena Hincapie, Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center noted, “Last night, justice prevailed and America prevailed as a federal District Court issued a nationwide stay. But now we’re grappling with the fact that, on-the-ground, we are seeing blatant disregard for the federal court order and the rule of law. We, as Americans, should demand that our government rescind this heinous and unconstitutional executive order. We will not stop fighting until the government protects the rights of our clients and every single individual like them.”