More than 500 protesters gathered in terminal four of the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Sunday to protest Trump’s latest executive order, which banned travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.
The executive order, which was signed three days ago, suspends the Syrian refugee program indefinitely while halting all immigrants from seven countries including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia, for the next 90 days.
The airport protest was a convergence of two planned events at the same location. The original protest was organized by the Arizona chapter of the American Immigration Lawyer Association.
Delia Salvatierra, an attorney with the association, said that the event was organized to show support for refugees.
“The American Immigration Lawyers Association decided to organize this protest because as immigration lawyers, our purpose is to help people achieve the American dream,” Salvatierra said. “Muslims and refugees and immigrants from all over the world make this country a better place for everyone.”
Salvatierra said the executive order should be held until a better discussion could be had.
“This order is contrary to our constitution, so we are in support of the injunction in Brooklyn and other places across the country,” she said. “We want the order to be halted until we can have a discussion grounded in due process.”
The second event was planned by Redeem Robinson, the director of Phoenix based group, the Empowerment Social Action Group. Robinson said he envisioned a more aggressive response to the executive order.
“If you think about it, America was founded on riots,” Robinson said. “I mean, look at the Boston Tea Party.”
Robinson said that protesting was just a small part of the necessary movement.
“I came fully prepared to be arrested today,” Robinson said. “But we also have plans to call our representatives, march on their offices and to do whatever it takes to be heard.”
One of the protesters directly affected by this travel ban was Kousha Kalantari, a 3rd year PhD Student from Iraq, studying electrical engineering at ASU.
“I want to be able to see my parents again,” Kalantari said. “The way it is now my parents can not come see me, and I can not leave now without being afraid of not being able to come back.”
For Kalantari, this executive order could make his studies at ASU the last reason to stay in America.
“If this stays the way it is, I will finish my studies and get my PhD as fast as I can, then leave and never come back for anything,” Kalantari said.
According to airport officials, no refugees affected by the ban were being held at Sky Harbor International Airport.