Marylanders filled Baltimore-Washington International Airport to the brim last night as they showed both their support for immigrants and foreign-born U.S. citizens and their contempt for President Donald Trump’s newest executive order.
As many as 2,000 people filled the airport’s international terminal and spilled out the door on Sunday evening, according to WJZ. The protest began around 5 p.m. and unfolded over several hours.
Last week, Trump signed an executive order banning people from seven mostly Muslim countries, including green card holders, from entering the country for the next three months. It also indefinitely bans entry for Syrian refugees and halves the cap of total refugees that can be accepted for the whole year, among other stipulations.
The immediate result on Friday was that that hundreds of foreign travelers were detained at U.S. airports, many of them at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia. No detentions were reported at BWI, though Sen. Chris Van Hollen wrote on Facebook that a 5-year-old Maryland boy was being detained at Dulles International Airport on Saturday.
Trump’s administration budged slightly on its new rules yesterday by rescinding the ban for green card holders from the seven countries. That change didn’t quell the outrage of thousands of Marylanders who gathered at BWI to protest the original order.
Maryland Reps. Elijah Cummings, John Sarbanes and Dutch C.A. Ruppersberger, as well as former Gov. Martin O’Malley, were among the prominent state officials who arrived at the airport.
“We’ve got a lot of problems here,” Cummings told WJZ’s Amy Yensi in a live Facebook video. “The thing that people have to understand is that if they don’t like what is going on, they’ve got to do what they are doing today.” He latter added, “I am excited about this. This is democracy in action. This is what it’s all about.”
Ruppersberger, who has served on numerous homeland security-related House subcommittees over the years, told WBAL-TV Trump had bypassed Congress, his de facto “board of directors,” in signing the order Friday. “There are 550 of us, and he needs to work with us,” he told the station.
Republican Rep. Andy Harris has indicated he supports the travel ban. A spokeswoman for Gov. Larry Hogan, meanwhile, told the Sun he is reviewing Trump’s order, but said, “this administration has and continues to support strengthened and more clarified vetting processes for those entering the country.”
Despite the high volume, the protests remained peaceful throughout the night. When it was over, BWI Airport thanked all those who packed the terminal for making it a safe demonstration.
Thanks to the people that gathered peacefully here tonight. You had opportunity to speak & allowed passengers & airlines to operate freely.
— BWI Marshall Airport (@BWI_Airport) January 30, 2017
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