Protesters of Trump's immigration ban have gathered at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle. The protest follows a demonstration at Sea-Tac Saturday night that mirrored others at airports nationwide after Trump's executive action barred entry to the U.S. for immigrants from seven Muslim countries.
What you need to know:
- President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday evening to suspend entry of all refugees for 120 days, bar Syrian refugees indefinitely and block U.S. entry for 90 days for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
- Some air travelers soon found themselves detained upon arrival to the United States. On Saturday, activists, politicians and others gathered at airports nationwide, including Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, to denounce the policy.
- On Saturday evening, a federal judge in New York blocked part of the president’s order. By then, six people had been detained at Sea-Tac, according to a Port of Seattle official. Of those, two were released and allowed to enter the U.S., while four were to be sent back to their place of departure. A U.S. District Court judge granted a stay to prevent two of the four from being sent away.
- Shortly before midnight, police began detaining protesters at the local airport. Some officers wore riot gear.
- Early Sunday morning, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said it will enforce the president’s executive orders but also comply with judicial orders.
[FULL STORY from Saturday: At Sea-Tac, protesters and officials denounce Trump’s immigrant ban]
Update, 8:45 p.m.:
The protest groups are starting to disperse. Earlier, protesters sat at in the street at Westlake Avenue North and Mercer Street in South Lake Union.
Update, 8:15 p.m.:
Several groups are marching in different directions through Seattle. One group marched to Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill. Another is marching north on Westlake Avenue through South Lake Union.
Update, 7:30 p.m.:
Thousands of people are marching through downtown Seattle as part of the protest against Trump’s immigration ban. Sound Transit said drivers and commuters should be prepared for possible delays.
Update, 5:50 p.m.:
More than 1,000 people have gathered at Westlake Park for the protest. Speakers include a Somali refugee, Gov. Jay Inslee and Rep. Pramila Jayapal.
Lt. Gov Cyrus Habib, whose family immigrated to the U.S. from Iran, said the executive order directly affects his family. If the order had been in place before, he said, neither of his parents would have been able to come to the U.S. If the order had been in place in the 1980s, when he was suffering from cancer, his grandmother wouldn’t have been able to visit him in the hospital.
“I care about those people who are affected by this like they are my family, because some of them are,” he said.
Refugee and immigrants are “every bit as American” as Trump, he said.
“Nobody loves this country like the people who leave everything behind to earn their place in this country,” he said. “…that is why from now on, we don’t call this an executive order, this is an ‘executive dis-order.'”
Update, 5:30 p.m.:
At the protest in downtown Seattle, Mayor Ed Murray called for everyone in the city to stand at their door at 7 p.m. Wednesday, using a candle or a phone, and “shine a light.”
“We as a city will stand with immigrants and refugees,” he said.
Update, 5 p.m.:
Protesters are gathering at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle for a demonstration over Trump’s immigration ban. Reporter Katherine Long will be reporting from the scene.
No one is currently detained at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray said at a news conference there. Two were who were detained overnight were released Saturday morning. One man arrived at Sea-Tac on Saturday, to visit family, but was held, then placed back on a plane to Vienna, Murray said.
“This is someone who went through the process, had legal paperwork, had the paperwork in his hand, got on the plane believing that he was going to see his family here in the airport at baggage claim when he landed, that didn’t happen,” Murray said. “He was put back on the plane and is currently in Vienna and it is unclear what will occur to him from there.”
Washington-based companies also reacted over the weekend to the White House order.
On Saturday, Microsoft sought to reassure and offer legal assistance to employees affected by Trump’s order. Microsoft President and Chief Legal Office Brad Smith said in an email to employees that the company was aware of 76 employees who are citizens of the seven countries and hold a U.S. temporary work visa.
Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz said Sunday the company plans to hire 10,000 refugees in its stores worldwide over the next five years, starting in the U.S. The stores will focus on hiring those who served as interpreters and support personnel for U.S. troops overseas, Schultz wrote in a note to Starbucks’ 330,000 employees in 75 countries.
Amazon.com said it was working on plans to assist U.S.-based employees and their immediate families stranded overseas due to the order. In an email to employees, Amazon human resources Amazon human resources Vice President Beth Galetti said that it would communicate directly with staffers from the seven countries who are working under temporary employment visas or as U.S. permanent residents and are currently out of the country.
Update 3:50 p.m.:
Lawful permanent residents (green card holders) will be allowed into the United States, according to a news release from the Department of Homeland Security.
Update, 3 p.m.:
Sound Transit has alerted riders that the protest planned for 5 p.m. at Westlake Park may generate higher than usual passenger volumes, particularly at the light rail stations downtown. Sound Transit trains will operate with three cars, and have additional trains on hand if demand is especially high.
Update, 2:30 p.m.:
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is facing criticism online for his relationship with President Donald Trump after the administration imposed a temporary ban on travel to the United States from seven majority Muslim countries.
Kalanick said in a Facebook post that the 90-day ban could hurt “thousands” of Uber drivers and he will raise his concerns directly with the president during a Friday business advisory group meeting in Washington. But the co-founder of the ride-sharing service is being criticized for agreeing to sit on the advisory panel.
Many on Twitter are calling for Uber users to #DeleteUber, or remove the ride-sharing application from their phone.
Update, 11:45 a.m.:
Washington politicians Sunday decried President Trump’s executive order.
U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Democrat, said it was “likely unconstitutional and should be challenged in federal courts.”
“We are a country that treats everyone equally under the law and that believes in due process. We do not discriminate based on national origin or religion,” Cantwell said in a statement. “Our country must continue to do its part to help Syrian refugees, who are suffering the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II, as well as others fleeing from persecution.”
Cantwell added that Washington state’s economy is stronger because of diversity and refugees.
Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson joined attorneys general in 14 other states (California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia) and the District of Columbia to condemn the executive order.
“Yesterday, multiple federal courts ordered a stay of the administration’s dangerous executive order. We applaud those decisions and will use all of the tools of our offices to fight this unconstitutional order and preserve our nation’s national security and core values,” the attorneys general said in a joint statement. “We are confident that the executive order will ultimately be struck down by the courts. In the meantime, we are committed to working to ensure that as few people as possible suffer from the chaotic situation that it has created.”
U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle, cheered the release of those detained at Sea-Tac Airport through Sunday morning.
“The release of the two immigrants held by CBP is a small victory in our fight against the president’s inhumane policies,” Jayapal said in a statement. “President Trump should know that this is not over. This is only the beginning of our resistance. We will fight his ill-conceived and unconstitutional executive orders until the very end.”
Update, 11 a.m.:
While the two men have gone free for now, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Zilly will hold a hearing Friday in Seattle where he will determine whether to make permanent the emergency temporary restraining order that enabled the release of the two men early Sunday. Judge Zilly, who was appointed to the federal bench in Seattle in 1988 by President Reagan, has asked for extensive briefing by both sides.
Update, 10 a.m.:
Jorge Baron, an attorney and executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, said he worked through the night to ensure the release of two detained immigrants around 6:20 a.m.
Baron declined to identify the two men by name, but said one is an engineer originally from Sudan who has lived in the United Arab Emirates for the past 20 years. Baron said the man was detained because because he is a Sudanese citizen. The man was on his way to a heating and air-conditioning convention in Las Vegas. “He should be on his way in a plane now,” Baron said.
The other man was a citizen of Yemen who was born in Saudi Arabia. He was coming to Seattle to meet his wife — who is already in the country — and visit family.
Both men had been detained by agents with Customs and Border Protection and were being led to planes to take them back to where they had come from when immigration lawyers intercepted them, Baron said.
“We were literally at the gate,” he said.
— Seattle Times staff reporter Bob Young
Update, 9:30 a.m.:
Between 30 and 35 protesters were arrested Saturday night and early Sunday morning during demonstrations at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, said Wendy Reiter, the airport’s director of security and emergency preparedness.
All but one of those arrested were “cited and released for criminal disorderly conduct,” according to a Port spokesman. One person was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor assault. (In this post, earlier information provided by the Port about the nature of the arrests was not correct.)
Reiter said protests were initially peaceful but “it got a little out of hand toward the end.”
Protesters were blocking doors and keeping passengers from checkpoints, Reiter said. “They wanted to close down the airport.”
Many protesters arrived at the airport on light rail, which was then temporarily shut down at the request of police.
“When we first initiated incident command, we had a lot of protesters come in all at once,” Reiter said. “As we assessed our security risk, we asked Link light rail to slow down the process.”
Then, Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff called port officials.
“Peter was in contact with us … at the same time we were agreeing we were willing to accept more people,” Reiter said.
Reiter said the light rail service was disrupted for about 10 minutes. A Sound Transit spokesman said it was delayed about half an hour.
King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a tweet that Sound Transit and King County Metro Bus staff will meet on Monday to discuss when police can disrupt transit service.
Ten police agencies responded to the demonstration: The Kent, Federal Way, Auburn, Renton, Tukwila, Seattle and Normandy Park police departments; the King County Sheriff’s Office; and the Washington State Patrol. The Valley Crowd Management Unit, Valley S.W.A.T., also contributed.
Police used pepper spray and bicycles to clear the protesters from the airport. The last protesters were cleared out at 2 a.m. Sunday, Port of Seattle spokesman Brian DeRoy said.
Reiter said no one was injured during the demonstration. “That’s the great news,” she said. “There were no fatalities — no injuries.”
Reiter said she did not know how many people traveling to Sea-Tac Airport were refused entry to the United States. Port officials and local lawmakers were able to get lawyers for two people, she said.
“There were two we were able to get lawyers for, who luckily enough were able to stay in the U.S.,” she said, adding that two others were sent back to where they’d arrived from but she did not know where that was.
Reiter said the airport would not change how it handles security.
“We hope that, if there are more demonstrations, that we can have the protesters in the Gina Marie Lindsey Hall, where we can still operate the airport safely and securely for the passengers and employees,” she said, referring to the arrivals area on the south end of the airport.
Reiter said the airport was running smoothly Sunday morning. “We are doing fine now. We are back to normal operations.”
— Seattle Times enterprise producer Evan Bush