BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Thousands of protesters came to BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport Sunday, showing solidarity with the people that have been detained, or that might be blocked from entering the country.
Organizers estimate 2,000 people were there to rally against travel ban and President’s executive order, which they say discriminates people based on religion.
Marylanders from across the region and of all backgrounds, held signs and chanted against the travel ban and ban on refugees. The international arrival terminal at BWI airport was jampacked with people.
The protest comes after President Trump signed an executive order Friday, banning nationals from seven predominantly-Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days. Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen are all on the list.
Several people, including those with Visas and green cards were detained after arriving from countries on the travel ban list at JFK Airport in New York and Dulles International in Virginia.
“Banning people from Muslim countries is not American. It’s not the America I grew up in. It’s not the America I know,” says protester Florence Newman.
“We are obviously experiencing an unprecedented situation in this country, with the election of Donald Trump, the racism that’s come along with it, and the opposition to it,” says protest organizer Brian Harvey.
“I cannot believe that we have taken a nation of immigrants and we are turning people away. I am embarrassed to be an American,” says Howard County resident and protester Janice Ford.
A group of immigration attorneys answered questions from those worried that their loved ones may not be allowed back into the country.
“We’re here to try and protect people’s rights,” says immigration attorney, Maureen Sweeney.
Maryland Congressmen, Representatives John Sarbanes and Elijah Cummings addressed the crowds.
“They put this executive order out, they didn’t tell the agencies what to do with it — that’s why you got chaos and confusion all over the place. So even when they’re doing something that doesn’t make sense, they don’t know how to do that well,” says Rep. Sarbanes.
“We are better than this,” says Rep. Cummings.
Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Representative Dutch Ruppersberger also spoke.
“First they come for the Muslims and we need to stand up and say not in our country,” says O’Malley.
“My specialty is national security and this makes our country less safe,” says Congressman Ruppersberger.
Organizers took to social media to reach out about their protest, “Refugees/Immigrants Are Welcome!” and word of the protest spread like wildfire online.
“I am excited about this, because this is democracy in action,” says Rep. Cummings.
“To see this going on, I think it will have a tremendous impact throughout out the nation, and hopefully on this president,” he says.
Jarred Flood is a U.S. Navy veteran who came to the protest.
“I served 6 years active duty and it’s very important to me that everybody understands that we’re not just going to sit back,” he says.
On Sunday, a federal judge in Virginia issued a temporary restraining order that for one week, will block green card holders arriving at Dulles International Airport from being removed from the country.
The protest at BWI was held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday night. No one is being detained at BWI or blocked from arriving. The protesters say they’re not waiting for that to happen.
BWI tweeted out a thank you to the protestors who gathered peacefully. None of the passengers or airlines were affected by the protest.
Senate and House democrats plan to hold a press conference Monday night to voice their opposition to the ban.
The Trump administration says the seven countries that are part of the ban were designated by the Obama administration as posing a threat to national security under the current visa program.