Despite federal court order, many people are still being detained at airports

Lawyers report cases of unlawful deportations.

Protesters demonstrate against Muslim ban at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, in Los Angeles. CREDIT: AP/Reed Saxon
Protesters demonstrate against Muslim ban at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, in Los Angeles. CREDIT: AP/Reed Saxon

On Sunday, lawyers, journalists, and political leaders documented the chaos at airports resulting from President Donald Trump’s executive order restricting migration from Muslim-majority countries. The lack of advance notice of the immigration order along with conflicting accounts of whether the order applied to green card holders, made the situation even worse for people traveling to the U.S.

Although White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said the order did not affect those holding green cards, the Department of Homeland Security said it applied to legal permanent residents. On Saturday, a federal judge ruled in favor of a temporary restraining order preventing those currently being held at U.S. airports from being deported. It was not a final ruling on the constitutionality of the executive order, however.

Many people are still being detained at airports. According to NY1, at least a dozen people were still detained at JFK Airport on Sunday morning. Alina Das, an attorney, told NY1, “The stay prevents the government from removing people who have valid status, but at the same time we’re hearing reports [they] might still be deported in violation of the stay, so there’s a lot of concern that the law isn’t being followed, and that’s simply un-American.”

Congressman Hakeen Jeffries (D-NY), went to JFK Airport on Sunday morning to speak with families affected by the executive order and said people with visas were still being detained.

New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg reported on Sunday morning that customs agents at Dulles International Airport neard Washington, D.C. were not letting lawyers see people who were being detained.

Desis Rising Up & Moving, an organization of working class South Asian immigrants in New York City, tweeted that the authorities were putting immigrants back on planes, in violation of the court order.

As immigrants and their families continue to contend with the great uncertainty and legal limbo following these actions, thousands of protesters have continued to demonstrate at major airports across the country.