If you heard the roar of a crowd tonight, it was coming from the Eastern District federal courthouse on Cadman Plaza. At around 8:30 p.m., the chant “Let them stay! Let them stay!” was heard from a boisterous group of protesters outside the courthouse. Why were protesters outside the courthouse on a Saturday night? According to the ACLU facebook feed, it had filed an emergency petition for a stay against Trump’s executive order banning immigration from certain predominantly Muslim countries. The first legal challenge to that order was heard tonight, right in our backyard.
The ACLU named two men being detained at JFK airport as petitioners in its court papers. Earlier in the day, there had been a protest at JFK airport with crowds chanting, “Let them in! Let them in!” According to ACLU’s petition, one of the men, Khalid Darweesh, is an Iraqi who had been granted a Special Immigrant Visa as a result of his service to the U.S. military as an interpreter and engineer. The other is Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, an Iraqi who was granted a Follow-to-Join Visa to rejoin his wife and children who had been granted refugee status.
At around 9:30 p.m., thundering cheers came from Cadman Plaza that sounded like a Superbowl win. Shortly after, the ACLU announced that it had won and the stay was granted. The stay is nationwide but temporary, and saves people who have already landed in the U.S. or are currently in transit from deportation.
A few sirens were heard near the protest site, but so far, no signs of anything but a loud and impassioned protest. As of this writing at 10:30 p.m., the protesters are still celebrating the win and chanting, “Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go!”