Trump Travel Ban Protested as Immigration Lawyers Keep Busy

Copley Square station was closed Sunday to accommodate the protesters

Thousands of activists turned out Sunday afternoon in Boston to protest President Donald Trump's actions on Muslim immigrants.

The Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations started its rally at 1 p.m. on Boston's Copley Square.

CAIR-Massachusetts Executive Director John Robbins said Trump is playing on "religious bigotry and intolerance"' and will end up turning away men, women and children fleeing violence and persecution.

The president's order immediately suspended for four months a program that last year resettled in the U.S. roughly 85,000 people displaced by war, political oppression, hunger and religious prejudice. An immediate 90-day ban was put in place for all immigration to the U.S. from seven Muslim majority nations.

Trump also indefinitely blocked Syrians, including those fleeing civil war.

The rally took place at the site of the Kahlil Gibran Memorial. Protesters quickly filled the area holding signs and chanting and singing songs like "America the Beautiful."

Senator Elizabeth Warren joined CAIR and the ACLU to speak against the temporary ban. “He is even trying to shut the door on people who are here legally. On students, on faculty, on workers right here in Massachusetts who live here legally and we are here to fight back,” said Warren

"It’s a security test, we were the victims in our city of a bombing recently,” said Joseph Coutlis who attended the rally. The brothers behind the bombings and their family were not from any of the 7 countries on the travel ban list, but Coutlis says he still supports President Trump’s efforts.

Lilia Laitouti questions the treatment being meted out to her. “I love this country as my second home, I pay my taxes and don’t do anything wrong here and I don’t see why I am different this is my question, why am I not welcome here?” asks Laitouti.

Sunday marked the second day of protests in Boston and across the country. While there was a smaller demonstration Saturday afternoon in the city's Chinatown neighborhood, hundreds of activists gathered for an impromptu demonstration at Boston's Logan International Airport after there were reports of detainees, whom were eventually granted their release by a federal judge overnight Sunday.

MBTA Spokesperson Joe Pesaturo said for safety precautions, Copley Station would be closed beginning at 11:30 a.m. and would remain closed until the demonstration ended. Green Line customers were being asked to use Arlington and Hynes Stations instead.

Pesaturo also said that extra trains were being added on the Green Line in anticipation of extra customers.

Meanwhile Immigration lawyers kept busy at the Boston Logan airport. Nearly a day after a restaining order was placed on Trump's executive order, things have eased a little.

“They said that they think the right thing to do is take 7 days and just stop. Stop the president's executive order to give time to hear the constitutional issues, for both sides to present their evidence and to make a decision on the constitutionality of president trump's executive order," says Jeff Goldman, an Immigration Attorney.

The president has singled out 7 countries in his 90-day immigration ban. Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

White House officials say that US residents - those with green cards from these 7 countries are now exempt from the executive order.

"So if the permanent resident has documentation saying they're allowed to enter the United States, they should be let in," added Goldman.

That wasn't the case yesterday as two UMass Dartmouth professors who have green cards were detained for hours.

"It’s one thing to ask questions. It’s another thing to have someone head into secondary inspection, which is the side room and have to wait 4,5,6 hours," said Goldman.

Customs and Border Protection does have the ability to label a permanent resident as a possible threat to national security. Goldman says they should be given the right to have a hearing in front of a judge before being sent back on a plane.

Immigration lawyers have been asking clients to fly in to Logan since the restraining order was signed yesterday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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