CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) Thousands of protesters flooded O'Hare Airport in Chicago, JFK Airport in New York, and other locations across the country Saturday night to protest President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from Muslim-majority countries.
The crowds cheered around 8 p.m. Central time when a federal judge in New York issued an emergency order temporarily barring the U.S. from deporting people who already have valid visas. The judge's order also covered anyone with an approved refugee application.
At O'Hare, 13 people were detained. Nasser Mused told FOX 32 News that his father, who is 67, was detained. Mused said his father has been in the United States for 18 years and has a green card. Mused said his father had traveled to Saudi Arabia for a family wedding.
"I can't even contact him or text him or anything," Mused said. "No response. Right now I am just worried about him.
Most of the people who were detained at O'Hare on Saturday were in similar situations: they had green cards and were not refugees.
A group of local attorneys took over a corner of arrivals section at Terminal 5 to offer pro-bono assistance to family members in distress.
Attorney Matt Pryor said at least one traveler was sent back; that traveler was trying to visit her sister in Indiana who is recovering from breast cancer surgery.
"She was turned around even though she had a letter form the hospital showing that her sister is indeed in their care right now," Pryor said.
Protesters at O'Hare stood for hours, holding up signs showing solidarity with Muslims, refugees and immigrants. Many protesters said they would stay until all the people being held by U.S. Customs were released.
"Our message to you tonight is that you are not alone," said Andrew King of Asian America Advancing Justice. "This is your community and more importantly we are going to win."
Some travelers joined the protest, while others were angry.
“The city of Chicago and Rahm Emanuel should be ashamed,” said Patrice Hollander of Barrington, who arrived at O’Hare Saturday. “This is insanity at the highest level. They can’t control the streets and apparently they can’t control the airport either.”
By midnight, after the detainees were released, roads to the terminal were reopened to traffic, authorities said.
Chicago Police said no one was arrested in the protest.
Trump's ban impacts travelers from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. While some supporters on Twitter claimed the ban was a response to 9/11, none of the September 11th hijackers were from the countries on this list; 15 of those terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, and the rest were from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Lebanon.