Protest at JFK Airport After President Trump’s Executive Order Detaining Refugees


On January 28th, thousands of New Yorkers headed to John F. Kennedy airport to protest against President Trump’s executive order sending back refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

President Trump had signed an executive order the day before that suspends citizens from Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for 120 days. The countries that are affected by this executive order: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia.

According to ABC news, “Trump has also stopped the admission of all refugees to the United States for four months.” He claims that this would help protect Americans from terrorists.

While in flight, refugees were on their way to the United States while the executive order was signed. It was unclear about how many refugees were stopped and detained upon arrival at JFK airport.

Two of the refugees from Iraq took legal action, challenging the ban of Muslim and requesting that they be released. According to the Boston Globe, “they filed a motion for class certification, in an effort to represent all refugees and immigrants who they said were being unlawfully detained at ports of entry.”  Hameed Khalid Darweesh had worked for the U.S. government while in Iraq. The second passenger who was detained, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, was coming to join his family who had already been living in the states.

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This had sparked anger in filmmaker Michael Moore, who had sent out a tweet telling people to head too JFK airport. More than 2,000 people had responded to the tweet and security was overwhelmed trying to keep travelers safe. New Yorkers banned together to send a message to President Trump’s new executive order.

According to USA Today protesters chanted, “No ban. No wall. Sanctuary for all” and  “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here!” while filling up the sidewalks and parking lots of JFK airport.

There were also other protests held in Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington D.C, among other US cities.

In the afternoon, Darweesh was the first to be released from custody. After being released he stated, “this is the humanity, this is the soul of America,” surrounded by reporters and protesters holding supportive signs. “This is what pushed me to move, leave my country and come here.”

Later on that evening Alshawi was released and they were both able travel safely back to their families.






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Hi! My name is Kristin Walker and I am the Arts and Entertainment Editor for The New Englander. I am from Long Island, New York and I’m a Senior here at New England College, studying Communications with a focus of Public Relations. I have been writing for The New Englander for over a year. This is my first (and last) year as editor and I look forward to a great year!
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