Protesters at ABIA: Refugees are welcome in Austin

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Hundreds of protesters at Austin Bergstrom International Airport rallied against President Trump’s immigration order Sunday. Protesters held signs with messages including, “The more the merrier” and “This land was made for you and me.”

Austin council members Gregorio Casar and Delia Garza were among those in attendance. “Every year we welcome hundreds of them into my district, District 4,” shouted Casar.

“Part of my family grew up in refugee housing, and I know what a difference it made for them to be taken in,” explains 22-year-old University of Texas student Noor W. Noor’s family used to live in Palestine. “It’s something that if it affects one of us, it affects all of us.”

Trump’s executive action bans anyone from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from coming to the United States for 90 days. The order also suspends refugee admissions for 120 days. Trump said the order was necessary to stop “radical Islamic terrorists” from coming to the U.S.

People protesting at ABIA were supporting travelers around the country who were detained at airports over the weekend, after Trump’s executive order took effect. “We get stopped so much and with a family of five people, including a four-year-old boy, it becomes a very big hassle,” said Mah-ro Khan, a Pakstani-American student at UT.

A federal judge in New York issued an emergency order Saturday, temporarily barring the U.S. from deporting people from those seven countries, if they have a valid visa. The order also applied to anyone with an approved refugee application.

According to a Facebook event for the Austin airport protest, organizers said the peaceful protest was intended “to show that Austin will not stand for this.” “Completely cutting off countries is not going to be one that can kind of be an end solution,” said Shane Terenzi, protest organizer.

President Trump sent out a statement Sunday, saying his order is not about religion but about keeping the country safe. He says there are more than 40 countries where the majority of the population is Muslim that are not on the list of banned countries. “We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas,” says Trump. “We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people.”

On Tuesday, organizers will take their message to state lawmakers for the “Austin Muslim Captiol Day.” 

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