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Phoenix Travel Ban
Protest Grows, Adds Pols

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On The Second Day Of Protests At Sky Harbor Airport  On President Trump’s Travel Ban, Several Hundred Raised Their Voices To Join Those Around The World

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By Wayne Schutsky
Modern Times Magazine

Jan. 30, 2017 —The second consecutive day of protests at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix saw a major increase in turnout as people from across the Phoenix metro came out to protest travel restrictions instituted last week by President Donald Trump via executive order.

Several hundred protesters showed up at the airport on Sunday afternoon to speak out against the action, including Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and U.S. Rep Ruben Gallego. The crowd, which had a permit to gather, congregated outside at the eastern end of the southern concourse in Terminal 4. The diverse crowd included a wide swath of ethnicities and nationalities including refugees from Somalia, the former Soviet Union and Bosnia as well as immigrants from the countries that are now on the banned list.

The order bans citizens from Libya, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S. for 90 days. It also bans refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days and bans Syrian refugees indefinitely.

Protester Mazin Mohmed held a sign that read “I am an immigrant, I make America Great.”

“I think [the ban] is not fair,” Mohmed said. “It is just discrimination against Muslims; it is unfair and unconstitutional.”

Another protester, Marle Ethelbah, a member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe, held a sign that read “You are welcome here from a Native American.”

“I think this is a country of immigrants,” said Ethelbah. “To make this country great, we need all voice. I want to make sure everyone feels welcome here.”

The protest received a mostly warm reception from travellers making their way through the airport. Vehicles passing by the demonstration regularly honked and travelers yelled messages of support. Other travellers viewed the protest from the windows on the third floor of Terminal 4 and took photos.

There was a sizable Phoenix Police Department presence at the event, though officers mainly remained at the edges of the protest, ensuring protesters stayed within the designated area and vehicles passed through safely.

The demonstration the previous night, which saw roughly 50 people attend, took place inside Terminal 4 and ended when protesters were notified they needed a permit to gather in that space.

Sunday’s action coincided with similar protests at major airports across the country. The largest of those took place at hubs like LAX, JFK and Dulles International Airport, where protesters, the ACLU and human rights lawyers fought to free travelers detained under the order.

The anti-ban movement seemingly won a measured victory on Saturday night when federal Judge Ann Donnelly granted an emergency stay against the travel ban following a legal challenge by the ACLU. Several other judges from across the country also temporarily blocked various portions of the order.

Protests continued into Sunday, however, as many travelers still faced detention at airports across the country.

The seemingly haphazard roll out of the ban followed by these various court orders has led to confusion at airports across the country. Adding to the confusion is a Department of Homeland Security statement that says that the department will both “enforce all of President Trump’s Executive Orders...” and “...comply with judicial orders…”  

Twitter was rife with reports from journalists, politicians, family members and activists claiming that Border Patrol agents at some airports are not complying with the various judicial decisions and continued to detain travelers throughout Sunday.

However, as the day wore on, more reports came out of detained travellers being released.

It is unclear how many travelers have been detained since the order went into effect, though the ACLU put the number in the 100 to 200 range as of Saturday according to a tweet from Guardian News Editor Raya Jalabi. How many travelers have since been released and how many were put on international flights back to their homelands is also unclear.
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