Editor’s Note – Events are moving quickly. This initial story will be expanded on over time.
At Philadelphia International Airport and locations throughout the U.S., on Saturday and Sunday thousands of protestors demonstrated against President Trump’s ban on immigrants. There were frequent developments in Washington and the rest of the country as well.
Time Line, in Reverse Order
Tuesday, January 31st
Tuesday, 8 pm: Trump scheduled to announce his pick for the Supreme Court. This justice could be the crucial vote that decides the legality of Trump’s immigration ban.
Tuesday, Morning/Afternoon: Senate Democrats spoke at length about former Acting Attorney General Sally Yate’s courage in defying Trump. The Republican majority allowed them to speak, even though it delayed the vote to confirm Jeff Sessions as the new Attorney General. That vote is expected to take place on Wednesday, February 1.
Monday, January 30
Monday, Late evening: Yates is replaced by Dana Boente, who immediately reversed her directive. Meanwhile, Yates is still packing up her office after a 27 year career with the Justice Department.
Monday 9 pm: Attorney General Sally Yates has been fired for refusing to defend the ban. Earlier she had sent a letter to her staff explaining the she thought the ban was illegal and unjust. She wrote that the Justice Department would not defend the ban in court.
Monday 6 pm: House and Senate Democrats gather on the steps of the Supreme Court to protest Trump’s immigration ban and to stand in solidarity with judges who have ruled against parts of it.
Monday Senate Democrats ask for a vote on legislation stopping the ban. Republicans block the request.
Sunday, January 29
Sunday Afternoon: Trump hosts a movie screening for his staff and their families in the White House movie room. The film is “Finding Dory” about a fish who travels across the sea to reunite with her family. Ironic that as the movie is playing, Trump is refusing to allow immigrants to come to the U.S. to reunite with their families! The White House denies that Trump stayed to watch the movie.
Sunday Afternoon: More protest rallies at airports and other locations across the country.
Sunday Afternoon: White House spokesman Sean Spicer defends the immigration ban. He suggests that State Department employees should resign if they disagree with the ban.
Multiple lawsuits by states and by lawyers representing individuals have been filed. At issue in these suits is Section 3 of the executive order. This section suspended immigrant visa processing for nationals of seven predominantly Muslim countries and prohibited nationals from these countries from entering the United States.
This section violates an explicit statutory prohibition on discrimination in the issuance of immigrant visas “because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.” – American Immigration Council
Entire Weekend: Lawyers work to get access to detainees and to win their release. During the course of the weekend they start to succeed, although information is limited.
Entire Weekend: A “Dissent Memo” is signed by State Department employees explains why the ban is counterproductive. Most U.S. terror attacks where committed by US citizens who had been living in America for decades. The few foreign terrorists came from countries like Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, not the countries on the ban.
Sunday: Barack Obama spokesman: Former President Barack Obama is heartened by the level of engagement ….Citizens exercising their Constitutions right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard … is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake … The former president fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion. – Kevin Lewis
Sunday Morning: The White House reverses itself and says green card holders are allowed entry.
Sunday Morning: Four congressmen come to Dulles and ask to meet with Customs and Border Protection officials. After delays, they speak by telephone to a CBP representative who is at headquarters in Washington. He has no information what is going on at the airport.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.”
These are the words written on the base of the Statute of Liberty. These are the values that make America great. Today, they are under threat, and we must respond.
This issue is not about Republicans, Democrats: it is about the soul of America.
These Executive actions will not make Americans any safer. We all share real concerns about terrorism. New Yorkers know those concerns better than anyone. That’s why our nation has rigorous screening procedures in place for all refugees. An American has never been killed in a terror attack on American soil by a person from one of the seven countries that were blacklisted today, and never by a Syrian refugee. Meanwhile, the countries from which the terrorists of 9/11 (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE and Lebanon) came from were excluded from the ban. We must stand up against this un-American absurdity! – Rabbi Ari Hart, Co-Founder, Uri L’Tzedek: Orthodox Social Justice
Saturday, January 28
Saturday 11 PM: Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) arrives at Dulles holding a copy of the judicial order to allow lawyers access to green card holders. Officials of Customs and Border Protection refuse to meet with him. Some reports say the officials communicated with him by passing notes back and forth.
Saturday 8:50 PM: ACLU announces that a federal judge in New York has issued a stay of deportations.
Saturday Evening: Politicians and celebrities speak out against the ban.
Saturday Judges in Massachusetts ordered that travelers should not be detained or deported from Boston’s Logan Airport.
Saturday Virginia judge issues an order that green card detainees at Dulles International Airport have access to lawyers. Officials of the Customs and Border Protection Agency announce that they will not comply.
Saturday Afternoon: Protesters rally in support of immigrants at airports around the country.
Saturday Morning: Travelers continue to be detained at U.S. airports. In other countries, some are barred from boarding flights to the U.S.
Saturday: The White House announces that the ban includes both Green Cards and Visas.
Friday, January 27 (Holocaust Memorial Day)
Throughout the weekend, lawyers work to free immigrants who have been detained.
Friday evening: Travelers who were already in the air when the ban was signed are detained upon landing at U.S. airports. At their own expense, some board flights leaving the U.S. rather than face detention in U.S. jails.
Friday 4:40 PM: Trump signs an executive order banning immigrants from seven Muslim majority countries. It had been planned for days or weeks, but it was released just as government employees were leaving for the weekend. It is reported that the new Secretary of Homeland Security, General John Kelly, didn’t know the order was going to be signed and only found out because he happened to be on the phone with someone at the White House who saw it on live TV. Early reports gave the impression that Kelly first heard about the ban as it was being signed. He later claimed that he had seen early drafts of the order before hand.
Friday: Trump’s statement commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day doesn’t mention Jews
Previous Weeks: Trump and closest advisors secretly plan immigrant ban.
– More to come