A group of protesters gathered outside John F. Kennedy Airport on Saturday following reports of the detention of two Iraqi immigrants. Signs read "Refugees welcome" and "No ban, no wall."
Word of the demonstration spread through social media after refugees arriving in the United States were reportedly stopped and detained at airports following President Donald Trump's executive order to close the nation's borders to refugees, according to immigration advocates.
Two Iraqi refugees were held at John F. Kennedy Airport when they arrived early Saturday morning, local press reported, as their immigration attorneys filed a complaint before a New York court seeking to have their clients released.
Attorneys told The New York Times one of the Iraqis, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, had worked on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq for 10 years. He was released four hours after news of his detainment broke, according to NBC.
The other, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, was coming to the United States to join his wife, who had worked for a U.S. contractor, and young son. Lawyers are working towards the release of 11 other refugees who have been detained, according to NBC.
Seven U.S.-bound migrants, six from Iraq and one from Yemen, have been prevented from boarding an EgyptAir flight to JFK airport.
Trump’s executive order, signed on Friday, temporarily halts the admission of new refugees into U.S. soil and suspends the entry of citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. This means that for the next 90 days, no one from these countries can enter the U.S. even if they have a tourist visa, student visa or work permit. The admission of Syrian refugees into the U.S. is blocked indefinitely under the order.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a prominent Washington-based group that works to enhance understanding of Islam, announced it will file a federal lawsuit against Trump, over his far-reaching executive order targeting Muslims.
Some airlines flying from this countries announced they are updating their travel advisories to reflect the situation. KLM and Qatar Airways are indicating that only green card holders or holders of diplomatic visas from the seven countries are allowed to fly, but tourists and those on study visas are not.