Irish American federal judge Ann Donnelly has granted a stay against the immediate deportations of people traveling to to the United States with valid visas, after President Donald Trump issued an executive order barring travel from several majority-Muslim countries.
Judge Donnelly of the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn made the announcement at an emergency hearing on Saturday night, holding that it likely violates Due Process and Equal Protection rights.
The stay is national and will prevent the government from deporting immigrants currently being detained at major airports with Irish monikers like John F. Kennedy, O’Hare, Tom Bradley and Logan.
The stay does not strike down the full executive order however, it does not prevent detainment, nor does it allow people to come to the U.S. who are currently abroad.
What it does do is allow people who traveled to the U.S. in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s order, if they were in possession of valid visas permitting them to legally come to the US before the order was signed.
The news that green card holders have been refused entry to the U.S. or returned to their foreign departure point has sent alarm though the Irish American community here, who fear the list of targeted nations could expand.
Reports on Saturday confirmed that green card holders, who have legal permanent resident status here, were being handcuffed, their social media feeds were being reviewed and they being were asked for their views on Donald Trump and the United States. Some who are being detained are reportedly just weeks away from their citizenship ceremonies.
Trump’s oft repeated campaign threat of mass deportations within the first 100 days of his administration look increasingly likely to longtime immigration attorneys here, who are bracing for much worse to come.
U.S. Immigration Attorney with USAVisaNow.net Caro Kinsella told TheJournal.ie this week: “It wasn’t just rhetoric for his political campaign. It looks like everything he said he’d do, he’ll try to do.”
As if to confirm Kinsella’s alarm Trump administration spokesperson Kellyanne Conway took to Twitter on Saturday to announce her support for the Muslim ban and to threaten that Trump was “just getting started.”
Irish American leaders are fighting back against the new measures however. On Wednesday Boston Mayor Marty Walsh blasted President Trump's promised immigration moves at a press conference before a crowd of immigrant city workers and officials.
"I want everyone to just get a good picture of behind me today. This is America, who's behind me," the mayor said. "Many immigrants who work for the City of Boston, and many first-generation Americans who work for the City of Boston, who are proud of their heritage and where they come from."
In Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney tweeted: “History teaches us dark moments like this occur when we let fear silence our compassion. We must speak out strongly.
“I’m sickened by reports that the feds, without knowledge of Philadelphia Airport staff, have detained and turned away two Syrian families,” Kenney added.
Down at the airport, thinking about what this flag stands for. Refugees are welcome here. pic.twitter.com/bL1pWHDLVq— Jim Kenney (@PhillyMayor) January 29, 2017
Protesters gathered at airports in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco to express their anger as immigration authorities begin to block entry to all refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations.
The thousands of protesters who gathered on Saturday at JFK Terminal 4 were soon joined by The New York Taxi Workers Alliance, whose members were asked to refuse to pick up fares between 6 and 7 p.m.
Trump’s executive order is being seen by many as an attempt to isolate and discriminate against Muslims in the United States. Trump was reportedly furious on Saturday night when he heard of the stay, an action he had not anticipated.
From 1975 to 2015 there have been no fatal terror attacks on U.S. soil by immigrants from the seven Muslim-majority countries President Trump targeted on Friday and none of the 19 plane hijackers on 9/11 were from any of the seven countries selected by the administration.
The travel ban excludes Muslim-majority countries where Trump reportedly holds major business interests.
Here are some of the scenes of protest at U.S. airports last night:
Tom Bradley LAX