Since taking office on January 20, President Donald Trump began to follow through with some of his campaign promises through the use of numerous executive orders. His fifth order, signed into force on his seventh day in office, sparked protests around the country.
Executive Order 13769, titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” prevents entry by citizens of Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Yemen for 90 days, regardless of their held visa. The refugee program was suspended for a period of time, and no Syrian refugees will be accepted for an indefinite period.
Donald Trump invoked 9/11 as a reason for banning citizens of these seven countries, despite the fact that none of the 19 hijackers came from these countries — instead they came Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon. However, filings show he has business ties to countries that were not banned but seem to be equally “risky” as the rest. Donald Trump owns golf courses in Dubai, buildings in Turkey, dealings in Azerbaijan, and has businesses registered in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Donald Trump’s past comments provide insight into what the real purpose of this executive order is: to target Muslims. Despite his reassurance that “This is not a Muslim ban as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion. This is about terror and keeping our country safe,” he previously called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” in 2016. Additionally, Rudy Giuliani stated on Fox News that Donald Trump asked him for a “Muslim ban” and wanted to know the “right way to do it legally”.
After some people were blocked from entering the United States at Customs and Immigration in spite of their legal ability to do so, protests erupted at airports across the country. The largest began outside of Terminal 4 at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. Terminal 4, primarily occupied by Delta Air Lines, is also a major international gateway and is used by most of the Middle Eastern carriers serving JFK. Similar protests occurred all around the country.
In North Carolina, Raleigh—Durham International Airport held a protest while Charlotte Douglas International Airport banned protestors. A smaller protest was organized at Piedmont Triad International Airport, with about 100 attendees in front of the departures area of the terminal. People around the country, at both large and small airports, have rallied together in protest of detaining green card holders, many of whom call the US home.