Minneapolis, MN – Protesters gathered at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) Saturday and Sunday in protest of President Donald Trump’s executive order regarding refugees.
The Pioneer Press reports about 100 protesters assembled Saturday evening to symbolically welcome overseas travelers. There were no detentions or deportations reported at MSP. Protests continued Sunday afternoon.
“It’s just very un-American,” American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota worker Molly Miller Mons told the Pioneer Press, “These people are coming from countries where they are escaping the terrorists we’re trying to prevent coming in. … People who have green cards into the country, they went through all the hoops, they’ve been OKed, they just chose to travel at this time. They didn’t fly a day earlier.”
Trump’s executive order temporarily blocks citizens from seven Muslim majority countries. These countries are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. This affects some 218 million people in total.
The Secretaries of State and Homeland Security are able to make certain exceptions as well. Currently this order is causing some difficulties for permanent U.S. residents and other visa holders.
Protester slogans at MSP included “This is what democracy looks like,” “Refugees are welcome here,” and “build bridges, not walls!”
An MSP spokesman told the Pioneer Press that the protests had no impact on airport operations. Protests also occurred at other airports across the country, including Dallas-Fort Worth, and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
While there were no instances of detentions at MSP, other airports across the country did detain people entering the United States.
ABC News reports that the exact number of people affected thus far by Trump’s executive order is hard to determine. This is in part due to variations in procedure.
“We just simply don’t know how many people there are and where they are,” Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project told ABC.
An official with the Department of Homeland Security told ABC that 109 people in transit on airplanes had been detained, and a further 173 had been blocked from boarding their U.S. bound flights in the first place.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus repeated the 109 person figure on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Preibus also stated that the ban does not in fact affect people who already hold green cards.
“As far as green card holders moving forward it doesn’t affect them,” Preibus said.