This still from a video shows throngs at New York City’s Kennedy Airport on Saturday protesting President Trump’s immigration order. (Jack Smith IV / Twitter)
A U.S. District Court judge in Brooklyn, N.Y., blocked part of President Trump’s executive order on immigration Saturday evening, following protests at airports across the country and legal intervention by immigrants’ rights and civil liberties watchdog groups.
The ruling by Judge Ann Donnelly of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York at least temporarily halted the deportation of people with valid visas or approved refugee papers who had reached the United States, and of others still in transit, from the seven predominantly Muslim countries named in the executive order signed Friday. The presidential order barred for 90 days citizens from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Yemen and Syria, blocked all refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days and imposed an open-ended ban on Syrian refugees.
The New York Times reported on the stay Saturday:
A federal judge blocked part of President Trump’s executive order on immigration on Saturday evening, ordering that refugees and others trapped at airports across the United States should not be sent back to their home countries. But the judge stopped short of letting them into the country or issuing a broader ruling on the constitutionality of Mr. Trump’s actions.
Lawyers who sued the government to block the White House order said the decision, which came after an emergency hearing in a New York City courtroom, could affect an estimated 100 to 200 people who were detained upon arrival at American airports in the wake of the order that Mr. Trump signed on Friday afternoon, a week into his presidency.
Judge Ann M. Donnelly of Federal District Court in Brooklyn, who was nominated by former President Barack Obama, ruled just before 9 p.m. that implementing Mr. Trump’s order by sending the travelers home could cause them “irreparable harm.”
Dozens of people had waited outside the New York courthouse chanting, “Set them free!” When the crowd learned that Judge Donnelly had ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, a rousing cheer went up in the crowd.
On the heels of the Donnelly action, another U.S. District Court issued a ruling affecting green-card holders at the international airport serving the nation’s capital. The Washington Post wrote: “Minutes after the judge’s ruling in New York, another came in Alexandria [Va.] when U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema issued a temporary restraining order to block for seven days the removal [from the U.S.] of any green-card holders being detained at Dulles International Airport. Brinkema’s action also ordered that lawyers have access to those held there because of the ban.”
According to National Public Radio, on Saturday “Judge Thomas S. Zilly of the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Washington at Seattle granted an emergency stay of removal for two people, which orders authorities not to remove them from the country pending a hearing later this week.”
Reporting still another action, Business Insider said:
In Massachusetts, US District Judge Allison Burroughs and Magistrate Judge Judith G. Dein ruled early Sunday morning for a seven-day stay on the removal, detainment, or additional screenings of lawful permanent US residents under the authority of Trump’s executive order. The judges also expanded the stay to pertain to lawful permanent residents, citizens, visa-holders, approved refugees, and individuals from all nations named in the executive order according to freelance reporter Joshua Eaton, who was at the courthouse.
The ACLU of Massachusetts, along with other immigration lawyers, filed the suit in federal court [in Boston] on behalf of two detained Iranian professors. Mazdak Pourabdollah Tootkaboni and Arghavan Louhghalam, two associate professors at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth who are both Iranian nationals and lawful permanent US residents, were being detained at Logan Airport in Boston as of Saturday evening.
The ACLU took to Twitter to celebrate the New York ruling:
A New York-area news station, Pix 11, reported on local taxi drivers who suspended service between 6 and 7 p.m. to and from Kennedy Airport, in Queens:
Organizations including the AFT Union and New York Taxi Workers Alliance publicly announced their support for the protest.
“Our 19,000-member-strong union stands firmly opposed to Donald Trump’s Muslim ban. As an organization whose membership is largely Muslim, a workforce that’s almost universally immigrant, and a working-class movement that is rooted in the defense of the oppressed, we say no to this inhumane and unconstitutional ban,” the NYTWA said in a statement.
“We stand in solidarity with all protesting at JFK #Terminal4 & airports across the country. We are a country of immigrants, we stand together,” AFT union wrote on Twitter.
The New York Taxi Workers Alliance also joined the protests, leaving Terminal 4 pick-up lines empty.
“We cannot be silent. We go to work to welcome people to a land that once welcomed us, we will not be divided,” a tweet from the NYTWA read Saturday evening.
The Trump administration’s official response to the stay remains to be seen, but a senior White House official told Fox News on Saturday that “[t]he notion that this is a ‘Muslim ban’ is ludicrous.”
Republican Sens. Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Jeff Flake of Arizona broke rank with their party and used Twitter to state their positions:
—Posted by Kasia Anderson