Protesters Gather At SFO For A Second Day

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) – After a day of boisterous protests, demonstrators returned to San Francisco International Airport Sunday to again voice their anger at President Donald Trump’s temporary immigration ban against citizens from seven predominately Muslim countries.

By 6 a.m., a duty manager told KPIX that about 60 protesters had gathered in the arrival area of the international terminal. Local organizers were promising a much larger protest for later in the day.

San Francisco airport officials said the demonstrators were “brave” in protesting.

“We are also making supplies available to travelers affected by this Executive Order, as well as to the members of the public who have so bravely taken a stand against this action by speaking publicly in our facilities,” airport officials said in a public statement.

The officials said they have asked for a meeting with TSA and ICE agents.

“Although Customs and Border Protection services are strictly federal and operate outside the jurisdiction of all U.S. airports, including SFO, we have requested a full briefing from this agency to ensure our customers remain the top priority,” the statement read.

Federal officials said the ban impacted 375 international travelers on Saturday with 173 of those being banned from boarding U.S. bound flights overseas.

At SFO Saturday, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom was among the protesters and called the order a sign of the ‘monarchy’ mindset of the Trump Administration.

“I was in Chinatown inspired by Chinese New Year, but I couldn’t fake like I was celebrating,” Newsom said. “I saw on my Twitter feed that people were stepping up again (in protest). I’m humbled and awestruck by the energy and willingness to be here.”

Also among the demonstrators was Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google and an immigrant to the United States.

Lara Kiswani, an organizer with the Arab Resource and Organizing Center said, “We have lawyers currently at SFO. What we’re not clear about is who or what type of families are being held, whether they’re from Syria or Iran or other countries, we don’t know for certain.”

The national Council for American Islamic Relations said it would be filing suit on behalf of 20 more individuals on Monday.

“We are prepared to fight back against these racist executive orders and will defend and protect all communities and normalize resistance to Trump everywhere,” Kiswani said.

Attorney Susie Hwang said about a dozen attorneys arrived at the airport’s International Terminal in response to a call from the International Refugee Assistance Project asking attorneys to help immigrants being detained at airports across the country.

“I’m concerned about the abuse of law and the disregard for the constitution,” Hwang said of Trump’s order.

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Hwang said several families had been at the airport waiting for several hours to hear word about whether their loved ones would be allowed to leave the airport or returned back to their countries.

One woman had been waiting for seven hours for her 30-year-old son, who arrived at the airport from Iran early Saturday morning according to Hwang.

The woman received asylum in the U.S. six years ago and is hoping her son will as well.

“Based on his religion, he is being persecuted and is in grave danger if he does go back,” Hwang said.

Saturday evening, Hwang said customs officials released one woman from Iran with a Green card after they held and questioned her.

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Among those caught in limbo: Iraqis who had been promised a life in America because of their service to the U.S. military, frail and elderly travelers from Iran and Yemen, and longtime U.S. residents traveling abroad who don’t know if they will be allowed to return home.

“What’s next? What’s going to happen next?” asked Mohammed al Rawi, an Iraqi-born American citizen in the Los Angeles area, after his 69-year-old father, coming to visit his grandchildren in California, was abruptly detained and sent back to Iraq after 12 hours in custody. “Are they going to create camps for Muslims and put us in it?”

Large protests erupted at airports throughout the country where travelers were being held, a day after Trump signed an order banning travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen. Trump also suspended the U.S. refugee program for 120 days.

Thousands of sign-waving people chanted and demanded that refugees be made welcome in the United States as lawyers and representatives of aid groups tried to assist people.

No green-card holders had been prevented from entering the U.S. as of Saturday, the official said, though several spent long hours in detention before being allowed in. Abdollah Mostafavi, 80, was released six hours after his flight arrived in San Francisco from Frankfurt.

“I’m so happy he’s finally out. He says he’s very tired,” said his daughter Mozhgan Mostafavi, holding back tears and speaking Farsi with her father.

Hameed Khalid Darweesh, a translator and assistant for the U.S. military in Iraq for 10 years now fleeing death threats, was among at least a dozen people detained at New York’s Kennedy airport their arrivals Friday and Saturday.

He walked free midday Friday after his lawyers, two members of congress and as many as 2,000 demonstrators went to the airport to try and gain his release.

“This is the soul of America,” Darweesh told reporters after gaining his freedom, adding that the U.S. was home to “the greatest people in the world.”

Others were less lucky. Parisa Fasihianifard, 24, arrived after a long trip from Tehran, Iran, to visit her husband, only to be detained and told she had to go home.

“She was crying and she told me she was banned to come inside and go through the gates,” said her husband Mohamad Zandian , 26, an Iranian doctoral student at Ohio State University.

He was hoping to get her out of the country on a late night flight to avoid her being jailed until Monday.

TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report

Comments

One Comment

  1. Dear bleeding heart libs,

    How many refugees will each of you accept into your own homes?

    We MUST vet these Muslims or terror attacks will only get worse. What? San Bernardino and Pulse attacks were not enough for you? You want more?

  2. Dave Spysea says:

    Again, how does a person keep from laughing at this nonsense? More of the usual I HATE AMERICA protests from irrelevant SAN FRANCISCO.

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