A Victory at SeaTac Airport

 

Mohammed in Detention

 

President Trump’s new executive orders on immigration are inhumane and unjust, but with you behind us, we are already challenging them.

Just this weekend, we had our first victory in our fight for immigrant rights under the Trump Administration’s new policies.

On Saturday afternoon, our staff headed to the SeaTac airport after learning that people were being detained under the Trump Administration’s executive order banning entry to the United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries. When we arrived, we heard that two people were being detained. We demanded to speak with them.

Here is one of their stories.

One of the detained travelers, Mohammed, had come to attend an engineering conference here in the United States. Even though he was living in the United Arab Emirates, he was denied entry because he was born in Sudan – one of the countries that was listed on the executive order.

Mohammed had a valid visa to visit the United States, but as he was in the air on his way here, the ban took effect. When he arrived, instead of being able to head to his conference, he was detained to be deported. While he was in custody, he saw television footage of the protests at SeaTac and airports across the country, and he was humbled and encouraged by the support of the community, including many of you.

Working furiously alongside partners from the ACLU of Washington, MacDonald Hoague and Bayless, and the Pacifica Law Group, our staff filed an emergency habeas petition to have Mohammed and the other traveller released from custody, worried that at any moment they could be put on a plane and deported.

We were just in time.

Mohammed had been placed on a plane to be deported and it had already been pulled from the jet-way ready to take off when we our petition was granted. We were able to force the government to stop the plane.

But the fight was not over. He and the other traveller were then held overnight while Customs and Border Protection officials waited to get the word from their superiors in D.C. that they could release him. Early Sunday morning, after being detained overnight, Mohammed was released and allowed to continue on with his travel plans. He wanted to thank everyone who made this possible, and that includes all of you.

 

Mohammed and our Executive Director, Jorge

 

While these are challenging times for our clients, community, and country, we are encouraged to be surrounded by allies like you, who enable us to defend the rights of people like Mohammed.

Thank you for your continued support, and many thanks to the volunteer attorneys and supporters who stood up for immigrant rights at the airport, the Seattle protest, and across the country.