Report from the front lines at O’Hare Muslim ban protests

While the uproar continues over the Trump’s “muslim ban,” protests continue to break out. Here’s a report on the O’Hare protests by a CWTA member who was there January 28. 

Photo by Lily Masson. 1.28.17 A woman with a small child was released from detention at O’Hare at around 9 p.m. Her husband was in the crowd with a lawyer, and the crowd cheered as the family was reunited.a CWTA member.

 When I arrived at the protest, about 6:15, there were perhaps 500 people at Door 5 of the arrivals level of the International Terminal. The crowd grew rapidly and by 7 or so was at least 2,000.
 
There were lots of homemade signs — examples include the famous quote from Emma Lazarus (Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses Yearning To Be Free); Welcome: I’m A Proud Muslim Woman & An American Citizen; You are wanted, needed, loved here; No Ban, No Wall; “Cursed is he who destroys the justice due an alien, orphan, or widow” — Deuteronomy 10:18; The time is never wrong to do what is right; Resist.
 
There were no speeches — hardly surprising, given that there were no megaphone, podium, etc. — but there were lots of chants: No ban, No wall; Hands too small to build a wall; Let them out now; This is what democracy (at times replaced by Chicago or America) looks like; No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here.
 
When we got there, all we knew was that there was a ban on Muslims from certain Muslim-majority countries entering the U.S. But like many people there, we were busy scanning the internet for news and we eventually learned that 18 people, including two kids, had been detained when they got off flights at ORD, even though several had visas and at least one had a green card. As time wore on, word slowly spread through the crowd with each new development, most notably the ruling by Judge Ann Donnelly of the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn granting a request from the ACLU to stay the ban on deportations nationwide of those detained on entry to the U.S.
 
On the edge of the crowd, perhaps half a dozen men and women with signs that said lawyers were volunteering to give assistance to protestors or family members of those who were detained. The crowd was energized by the detentions, but friendly and peaceful, and the cops (Chicago police, TSA agents, and Customs and Border Patrol agents), stood calmly by around the edges — not quite making nice, but not making hostile either.
 
Every so often, one of the detainees would be released. At about 9 pm, a woman with a small child came out. Her husband was in the crowd with a lawyer, and the crowd cheered as the family was reunited. 
 
Online reports said that all but one of the detainees would be released by 10 pm, but when I left, at about 10:30, only about 6 or 8 people had been released.