Hundreds gathered at the international terminal at Logan Airport Saturday night to protest President Trump’s immigrant orders, chanting “Let them in” and “refugees in, fascists out” as travelers streamed through the gates.
“I’m here because this is not who we are as America,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh to reporters. “This is not who we should be or who we are as a country.”
On Friday, President Trump issued an executive order that placed a 90-day restriction on immigration from seven countries with predominately Muslim populations — Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. The order also bans admission for refugees for 120 days and indefinitely suspends the admission of Syrian refugees.
Logan hosted one of many airport protests around the country, including John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and Los Angeles International Airport. Among the elected officials in attendance at Logan were US Senator Elizabeth Warren, and City Councilor Tito Jackson.
The protests lasted several hours until just after 10:30 p.m., when the last traveler of the day was processed by US Customs and Border Protection and emerged from the international arrivals gates to a cheering crowd.
Walsh said the traveler lives in Medford. He didn’t know where she arrived from or whether Trump’s order impacted her journey.
“She was a little shaken up, overwhelmed. Really worried about the crowd more than anything else,” Walsh said. “She’s fine. She had a long day. She said they treated her very nicely.”
Walsh said that Trump’s claims that the ban is being imposed for security reasons is simply “spin.”
“This has nothing to do with terrorism,” Walsh said.
Warren also decried the ban and said that persecuting anyone “for their religious beliefs is an attack on the very foundation of democracy.”
“We are better people than that,” Warren said. “It is an honor to be here with you, to stand with you, to speak with you, and most of all, to fight shoulder to should with you.”
As demonstrators chanted inside the terminal, Nathaniel Meyer played “This Land is Your Land,” “Amazing Grace” and “We Shall Overcome” on his trumpet.
“Hopefully it will add something to tonight,” Meyer said.
Toby Lynch, a 40-year-old psychologist from Somerville said he was concerned the ban could eventually impact his wife, a Turkish immigrant who teaches at a local college.
“Her family is Muslim,” Lynch said. “I’m worried about the ban being extended to Turkey and other countries.”
Though he said it felt good to be part of the protests, he also expressed concerned about what could come next.
“It’s scary what could happen,” Lynch said. “I’m worried about the backlash from this, you know. It’s going to make people angry; it’s just raising tensions.”
Jim Caralis, 47, of East Boston, said that he wasn’t surprised that Trump imposed the ban, but he was very happy to see everyone standing up to it.
“I’ve been sitting down quietly for a while saying ‘give trump a chance’ and I’m finally fed up with it,” Caralis said. “Not only is it wrong but the hypocrisy of the actually ban itself, and those countries that are banned is beyond ridicules.”
Though he wasn’t surprised Trump issued the ban, Caralis said that he was “very happy that everyone is standing up to it.“
Magdalena Ayed, 46, of East Boston, said when she immigrated to the US in 1979, the country was a welcoming place.
“It was a place of freedom, it was a place where we could make a life,” Ayed said. “This was a respite . . . I’m a Muslim, I converted, but I don’t feel like it’s a respite anymore.”
She said she brought her eight- and ten-year-old sons to the protest so they could learn to “stand up for justice.”
“I want my children not grow up in a world where people will not like them just because they’re Muslim,” Ayed said.