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First "Small Victory" Achieved Over Immigration Ban at Sea-Tac

“Trump should know that this is not over. This is only the beginning of our resistance.”

By Spencer Ricks January 30, 2017

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Representative Suzan DelBene arrives at the Customs and Border Protection office at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Saturday. Two men who were detained because of president Donald Trump's immigration ban on seven Muslim-majority nations were released on Sunday, which is being hailed as a "small victory" in the fight against Trump's executive actions. Photo courtesy Suzan DelBene's office.

Washington politicians are demanding answers after the weekend scuffle over immigration at Seattle–Tacoma International Airport.

Representatives Pramila Jayapal, Suzan DelBene, governor Jay Inslee, and other officials were quick to denounce president Donald Trump’s immigration ban from seven Muslim-majority countries after two men—from Yemen and Sudan—were detained at the airport on Saturday. The men, who had arrived in the U.S. with visitor visas, were released Sunday after U.S. District Court judge Thomas Zilly issued an emergency temporary restraining order prohibiting their deportation.

“The release of the two immigrants held by [Customs and Border Protection] is a small victory in our fight against the president’s inhumane policies,” Jayapal said. “Trump should know that this is not over. This is only the beginning of our resistance.”

Zilly issued the order to release the men after a request by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and American Civil Liberties Union. Jayapal and DelBene filed a joint brief in the request, which expressed alarm at the lack of transparency from the CPB.

Jorge Barón, executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, said he is pledging to “use every resource available to bring relief to individuals suffering as a result of these executive orders.”

After visiting Sea-Tac airport on Saturday and trying to understand how Trump’s executive order was being interpreted, DelBene sent a formal letter to the CPB in the District of Columbia. DelBene demanded that the CPB provide more answers about what policies and procedures are in place to detain people coming from the Muslim-majority countries mentioned in the executive order. She also requested that attorneys be promptly granted to individuals detained because of the executive order.

“President Trump’s irresponsible executive order created chaos for many families today,” DelBene said. “We don’t need to close our doors to keep Americans safe and we still have work ahead to ensure the president ends his cruel targeting of individuals based on religion and nationality.”

Representative Dave Reichert, a Republican from Issaquah, didn’t say anything about the men being detained at Sea-Tac, but he said “extreme vetting” of people coming to the the U.S. is important to keep the nation safe. He also urged the Trump administration to work with Congress in order to work out the details of the executive order.

Even though the men were released from custody, the issue is far from being resolved. Judge Zilly set a hearing for February 3 to determine whether the men will be allowed to stay in America. Senator Patty Murray is also scheduled to call on Trump to reverse the executive order on immigration with other members of congress on Monday. 

“We will fight [Trump's] ill-conceived and unconstitutional executive orders until the very end,” Jayapal said.

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