NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Attorneys and immigration advocates remained at John F. Kennedy Monday to help any travelers barred from entering the U.S. because of President Donald Trump’s travel ban.
The group of 30 volunteer lawyers say they will continue to set up shop inside the JFK’s Terminal 4.
“Our numbers since Saturday are 41 people have been detained and then released, two people have been removed and one person, we’re not sure where he is. He has not been reunited with his family and he may still be detained,” said Hallam Tuck of the group New York Immigration Coalition.
The two people who Tuck said were “removed” were sent back to their home countries, 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported.
Lawyers had worked through the day Sunday attempting to ensure that a federal judge’s emergency order to stop deportations was being followed.
Tuck called the work extremely frustrating, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.
“There are more flights coming in and we are continuing to keep tabs on the situation and I think we expect that we will be here for the immediate future,” he said.
Some volunteer attorneys told CBS2 that Customs and Border Patrol agents were not complying with the order to provide all detainee names.
“Currently we’re getting no information whatsoever,” said volunteer attorney Suraj Patel. “We don’t know how many people are back there. We’re not allowed back there.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that six people were still being detained at the airport. Cuomo also said his lawyers in the Governor’s Counsel’s Office will serve as counsel “for any detainee who needs legal assistance.”
After a night of being detained at JFK, Vahideh Rasekhi, an Iranian Ph.D. student at Stonybrook University, was reunited with family Sunday.
“I was scared, super scared,” she said. “I haven’t slept in more than 48 hours.”
As the volunteer lawyers worked inside, hundreds protested the order outside the airport’s international terminal.
The 90-day ban, imposed on Friday, affects travel to the United States by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
The order also suspends refugee admissions for 120 days and indefinitely bars the processing of refugees from Syria.
“Protecting this nation and our people is the number one priority of this president and our government,” said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
The president tweeted early Monday that only 109 out of 325,000 people “were detained and held for questioning” following his executive order.
In another tweet, he said: “There is nothing nice about searching for terrorists before they can enter our country. This was a big part of my campaign. Study the world!”
“If the ban were announced with a one week notice, the ‘bad’ would rush into our country during that week,” he said in another tweet. “A lot of bad ‘dudes’ out there!”
Over the weekend, Trump defended the order and said he will find other ways to help those suffering from Syria’s bloody civil war.
Trump said in a statement Sunday that “America is a proud nation of immigrants” and said the country “will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression,” but “while protecting our own citizens and border.”
The president insisted it’s “not a Muslim ban” and blames the media for that suggestion. He said the U.S. will resume issuing visas to all countries impacted after a review of security policies.
But Senate Democrats are vowing to have the president’s order repealed.
“This executive order was mean spirited, un-American,” said NY Sen. Charles Schumer. “It was implemented in a way that created chaos and confusion across the country.”
Republican congressman Peter King said the president’s decision is essential to national security and not anti-immigrant, calling it common sense.
Meanwhile, the world’s largest body of Islamic nations said on Monday that it has “grave concern” over the travel ban, warning such moves would only embolden extremists.
The statement from the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation marked the first official public criticism coming out of Saudi Arabia.
On Sunday, Trump called Saudi King Salman and invited him to visit Washington amid the widespread protests in the U.S. over the order.
According to CBS News, all of the travelers who were detained were eventually allowed into the U.S. after extra screening and emergency rulings from federal judges.
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