An update on the status of the refugees being denied entry:
The three Temporary Restraining Orders issued late yesterday concerning the fate of Muslims returning to America are being met with mixed response. The orders actively prevent deportation but not necessarily detention. Although several Muslim refugees have indeed been released, it is not clear what the fate of others has been or will be. The order had no impact on the approximately 173 people waiting to board planes abroad. They remain in limbo.
There are protests continuing at LAX and SFO international terminals. Attorneys for ACLU and some individual private attorneys continue to work to secure the release of any people still being detained, but the principle of the Muslim ban is still being protested.
And please be sure it is a ban on Muslims. Christians from the seven targeted countries are NOT being detained. Leaders from the Protestant, Catholic, and evangelical world are objecting vigorously to this discrimination even as it is on behalf of their own members. Jen Smyers, director of policy and advocacy for immigrant and refugee issues of the Church World Service is speaking against the preferential treatment for Christians along with Jose Vasquez of the US Conference on Catholic Bishops among others. Pitting religions against one another is being declared immoral, and upholding equal rights under the law is being affirmed.
To answer questions we have received, there is not any issue at smaller airports such as ours in Sacramento. Despite the name "international" appended to almost every airport these days, small airports do not serve direct flights from Europe and Asia. The focus is on those major arrival destinations where overseas travelers clear customs and immigration before heading to smaller city airports. Thus the protests in California remain focused on San Francisco and Los Angeles.
The temporary restraining order extends for seven days. It can be increased, made permanent, but those are steps we will need to observe over the next few days based on Executive Branch appeals, actions, and other factors.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made public that due to existing refugee and immigrant policy, those stranded abroad may find refuge in Canada. If people know of someone in that situation abroad, this may provide some help and relief so please get the word to them if possible.
This is not over. The White House is committed to the policy and is not backing down. We cannot back down on our commitment to justice, equality, and fair treatment. If you are inclined and physically able, please join the protests in San Francisco and Los Angeles airports today. And please keep calling Congress to end this policy of fear and discrimination! Call tomorrow 202-224-3121 to insist that Congress over-rides the Executive Order and abides by our Constitution at all times.