CHICAGO (CBS) — Dozens of people from seven predominantly Muslim countries were detained at airports across the country on Saturday, because of President Donald Trump’s travel ban, but immigration attorneys said they were later released after a federal judge temporarily blocked deportations.
Late Saturday night, a federal judge in New York intervened, issuing a temporary order prohibiting the federal government from deporting people subject to Trump’s executive order.
As a result, many of those who were being detained were being released.
About 1,000 protesters blocked the entrance to the International Terminal at O’Hare International airport Saturday night, outraged at the executive order Trump signed on Friday.
The federal judge’s emergency stay could affect 100 to 200 people detained at U.S. airports, including at least 12 detained at O’Hare.
The demonstrators at O’Hare said they will continue to protest; they want to see those 12 people who had been detained released.
The crowds came quickly after getting word of more than a dozen people detained at O’Hare due to Trump’s immigration crackdown – an executive order that includes a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.
The travel ban covers legal permanent residents – meaning those with green cards – and those with valid travel visas from those nations who were outside the U.S. after Friday. According to the Wall Street Journal, the State Department has said those who have dual citizenship with the seven countries also will be barred from the U.S., even if they hold passports from U.S. allies, such as the United Kingdom.
The U.S. refugee program also was suspended for 120 days.
“America is a free country to everyone; Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and all the people looking for freedom. We are here looking for freedom,” one protester said.
After learning of the detentions at O’Hare, dozens of attorneys set up shop inside the crowded International Terminal, offering pro bono legal help to anyone who said their family members were being held by federal authorities.
“This is insane. I mean, there’s an 18-month-old U.S. citizen who’s been in secondary inspection – basically in detention – for like seven hours. I mean, we can’t speak to them. They won’t speak to us. They won’t release these people,” immigration attorney Fiona McEntee said.
McEntee has a client who was detained, and she said U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents would not let her see her client.
“We don’t even know what’s happening with the refugees. We’re just speaking to people who are legal permanent residents, and some are U.S. citizens and happen to be dual nationals with one of the countries on the list,” she said.
Late Saturday night, attorneys said everyone who had been detained at O’Hare has been released.
Mayor Rahm Emanual issued the following statement: “Today’s actions have tarnished America’s standing as a beacon of hope for the free world, and there has been scant credible and confirmed information available throughout the day about the impact of the president’s executive order or those detained. Following the stay that was granted this evening, I am calling on the federal government to immediately produce a list of the names of anyone currently being detained at O’Hare or Midway Airports, and calling on those unjustly affected to immediately be released and allowed to access legal counsel.”