Immigration Advocates Cheer Release Of O’Hare Detainees

CHICAGO (CBS) — People across the country celebrated as the detainees being held at O’Hare Airport were released from custody Saturday night.

There have been significant changes in the last 12 hours on this issue. Saturday evening brought heartbreak to families in Chicago as they waited for loved ones who were detained. Later that night, however, cheers erupted through the international terminal as word spread that all detainees were being released.

Refugee advocates gathered at O’Hare rejoiced around 10:30 p.m. when attorneys made the announcement.

At that time, the immigration rights experts believed that 16 people had spent the day in custody. This occurred to those who flew in from countries on President Trump’s temporary ban list.

“This was huge, this was a very long day for a lot of people,” said Kathleen Vannucci, who’s with the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “We were here gathering all day, but we finally got word after a lot of working with congressional leaders and other partners that finally all the people that were being held had been released.”

More legal aid for worried families is available on Sunday at Sullivan High School in Rogers Park. A “Know Your Rights” seminar for immigrants and refugees is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. While it’s particularly tailored for those from Iraq and Syria, organizers said all are welcome.

The Department of Homeland Security said the New York court order temporarily banning the U.S. from deporting people from nations subject to President Trump’s travel ban will not affect the overall implementation of the executive order.

It is unclear what happens to people arriving at O’Hare on Sunday from those countries that are on the list.

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