Protesters Gather At Airports Around The Country

Jan 29, 2017
Originally published on January 29, 2017 6:54 pm
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

And now we go to Dulles International Airport in Virginia where at least 63 people were detained. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang has been there this morning. And he joins us now on the line.

Hi.

HANSI LO WANG, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What's the status of the detained travelers? Do you know?

WANG: We're still trying to figure out those details. There's a lot of unanswered questions now, the night after a number of federal judges issued orders, including, of course, the New York federal judge that issued a stay blocking the deportation of refugees and other foreigners that were subject to President Donald Trump's executive order. So we're still trying to figure that out.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You're there. Describe the scene to us. What are you seeing?

WANG: Well, I'm here at the arrivals gate for international arrivals and lots of families here and also a group of attorneys and volunteers, some of them holding signs saying, welcome to the USA in English and in Arabic saying, free help and having balloons. Lawyers also brought a printer here. They're all at the ready, ready to help any refugee families, any other international travelers that may be detained at customs because of this executive order.

But so far, you know, we saw one Afghan family come, a mother and her son. The son worked for the U.S. military as a translator in Afghanistan. They were able to get through customs. And they are in the car on their way back home to their relatives in Virginia right now so no issue so far. But the lawyers are here at the ready, ready to advocate on their behalf.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We are seeing protests in various airports around the country. They started yesterday. They seem to be continuing today. What are the lawyers you're talking to saying about the stay from the district court in New York?

WANG: Well, today, they - a lot of them are saying, you know, we're going to see kind of the wait-and-see approach to see how exactly will that be applied. Again, we saw that one Afghan family pass by no problem. But they are still waiting to see if they - anyone else runs into any issues and to test out to see if, actually, this order will be applied nationwide as the judge ordered in New York. And so the lawyers are ready to help them - you know, if they get detained, to provide legal assistance.

They also have, you know, the small water bottles and other care packages ready to help relatives who are waiting here in the waiting area to receive their loved ones. And so it - so far, it's kind of a wait-and-see approach. There's a long wait for the folks after they get off the plane sometimes to go through customs. And so we'll see what happens.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Just briefly, have you been able to speak to any of the family members who are waiting for their detained loved ones?

WANG: I spoke with that Afghan family, some of the relatives. They live in Virginia, and they were a little anxious to see what would happen. They were very thankful that no issues, it seems, to take home their mother and their brother.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: NPR's Hansi Lo Wang at Dulles International Airport in Virginia.

Thanks so much.

WANG: You're welcome, Lulu. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.