Hundreds gather at Sea-Tac Airport to protest Trump’s executive order
Hundreds of people gathered at Sea-Tac Airport on Saturday evening to protest after Washington state Governor Jay Inslee, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray denounced President Trump’s travel ban.
“We will not stand for this … for the rights of all of our brothers and sisters,” protesters chanted in baggage claim and the check-in area. “No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here.”
“Don’t give in to racist fear, immigrants are welcome here,” was heard as protesters moved up and down the escalators near the Alaska Airlines check-in with signs, one of which read: “Fight Trump, Billionaire Class.”
According to KIRO 7, protesters are sitting on the floor, escalators have been stopped, and some gates have been shut down. Seattle police officers were prepared to make arrests. Travelers were detoured outside and back in to retrieve their luggage at baggage claim.
Of the travelers detained at Sea-Tac, one Somali was sent back, and two people were taken off of a plane. The ACLU announced Sunday that two people have been released from the custody of Customs and Border Protection at Sea-Tac.
Sea-Tac was not the only airport where demonstrations occurred. Protests broke out at several U.S. airports where travelers were being detained, including a gathering of several hundred people outside San Francisco’s main airport. Two members of Congress, New York Democrats Jerrold Nadler and Nydia Velazquez, joined several hundred protesters who spent part of the day at Kennedy airport trying to win the release of about a dozen people they said had been detained.
People in the crowd chanted “Let them in.” Celebrities including “Sex and the City” actress Cynthia Nixon joined the demonstration.
Lawyers sat on the floor of an airport terminal Saturday evening working up court petitions on their laptops on behalf of detainees.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said he had directed state lawyers and the agency that controls Kennedy to “explore all legal options” to assist anyone detained at New York airports.
“I never thought I’d see the day when refugees, who have fled war-torn countries in search of a better life, would be turned away at our doorstep,” Cuomo said. “This is not who we are, and not who we should be.”
Washington state reacts
Mayor Murray and Executive Constantine had a similar message on Saturday during a news conference.
Inslee called Trump’s executive order unconstitutional, illegal, and “religious discrimination in its barest and obvious form.”
King County Executive Dow Constantine also commented on how the “cruel” executive order will affect the region’s economy
“On Wednesday, the authoritarian hand of an authoritarian government came down on cities,” Murray said. “Today, that same authoritarian hand, of that authoritarian government came down on immigrants and refuges throughout the world.”
Trump’s executive order includes a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen and a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee program.
MyNorthwest’s Dyer Oxley and the Associated Press contributed to this report.