SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – “Say it loud, say it clear! Refugees are welcomed here!” was one of the chants heard Sunday afternoon at the Sacramento International Airport.
No travelers were detained in Sacramento by Customs and Border Patrol, as the airport only has flights to and from Mexico, which is not on the list of banned countries. But that didn’t stop the several hundred who gathered to peacefully to protest President Trump’s immigration ban.
President Trump signed an executive order that bans immigrants from 6 Muslim-majority countries (Iraq, Iran, Sudan,Yemen, Somalia and Libya) for a period of 90 days, and imposes an outright ban on all people trying to enter from war-torn Syria, including refugees.
Among them was Latifa Aklikai, a local teacher, mom and a Muslim immigrant from Morocco.
“It’s really sad. This new law makes me feel like I am not part of the ‘We, the people,'” said Aklikai, referencing the Preamble to the United States Constitution.
She joined in the demonstration with friends and family, including her son, who is at the forefront of the fight for civil rights as a young Muslim American. His father is Libyan – one of the countries on the ban list.
“Why is (President Trump) doing this? Aren’t they human like we are?” asked her son, Abdul-Bari AlKheir, of the Syrian refugee children.
AlKheir, and the several other young Muslim kids who attended the protests with him and his mother, say this ban also makes Muslims a target of more racism and bigotry in the U.S. It also means his family from Libya, will not be able to visit them in the States, nor are they likely to travel there anytime soon.
“The people united, will never be divided!” was another popular slogan that went along with signs that read “We support Muslims!” “Welcome Home Refugees,” and “#NoWallNoBan.”
There signs and chants were meant to send a message to immigrants that they are welcomed on U.S. soil.
“You’re going to make out country great again. We know it. And we are with you!” said one of the demonstrators.
Denise Tugade, with the liberal group FemDems of Sacramento, doesn’t buy into Trump’s argument that the ban is to protect Americans, criticizing much of Trump immigration policy.
“It’s not about safety, because if it was, we wouldn’t be building a wall across our border. We all know that doesn’t work,” said Tugade.
“We reject Islamophobia!” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, which meet with huge applause and cheers. He was among those who spoke at the rally.
“I am proud of Sacramentans because we will not be part of a policy that seeks to have America hate again,” he said.
Steinberg joins other California politicians against the ban. Many are questioning the legality of the law including, California Attorney General, Javier Becerra. He issued a statement that read in part, “Justice in America doesn’t live or die on the stroke of one man’s pen regardless of how high his office. The Trump executive order should not stand and must be confronted as constitutional overreach.”
U.S. Senator Kamala Harris from California said the ban was “bigoted” in a tweet. Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom also tweeted against the ban, calling people to donate to the ACLU, or American Civil Liberties Union. Newsom praised the ACLU for their fight against what he calls “immoral injustice.”
But the protesters don’t have everyone’s support.
“So what!” said a passenger, who only gave his name as Edward. He didn’t make much of the protest and said he supports his president. He believes now is the time where security trumps civil liberties and political correctness.
“Banning criminals from these dangerous places? What’s wrong with that?” he said.
The list of seven countries singled out by Trump was actually derived from a list devised by the Obama White House. And President Obama also issued an executive order in 2011 that banned all Iraqi refugees from entering the United States, until they could improve the vetting process.
Meanwhile, given the public outcry from across the country, the Trump administration has eased some restrictions for green holders from the seven countries, making it easier for them to travel.
There was a significant police presence at the Sacramento International Airport during the demonstration, but no arrests were made.