Hours after two federal judges in Boston halted President Donald Trump’s executive order blocking Syrian refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly-Muslim countries from entering the United States, an Iranian woman was detained for several hours Sunday morning at Logan International Airport after her flight arrived from Dubai, according to her attorney.
The woman, who has been legally living in the United States, arrived on an Emirates flight from Dubai that landed at about 7:28 am and was held for nearly three hours, according to her attorney, Howard Silverman. At about 10:15 a.m., the woman was released from custody at the airport to leave with her husband, who is also from Iran.
Her detainment came just hours after two federal judges had issued a seven-day restraining order, ruling that Trump’s edict -- which applied to lawful residents, citizens, visa-holders and approved refugees -- was unconstitutional and should not be enforced.
Silverman declined to release his client’s name, but said the early morning ruling should have prevented officials from detaining his client. Still, he said, he is “not unhappy” that she was let go.
“We’re very happy she’s been released and she’s back with her family,” he said.
Protests across the country had erupted in major airports after Trump’s ban , with the American Civil Liberties Union leading the charge in filing lawsuits against the President. But even though judges in New York, Massachusetts, and Virginia ruled against some parts of the executive order, a sense of confusion pervaded airports as travelers and attorneys struggled to make sense of how the orders would affect immigrants.
Sarah Wunsch, deputy legal director at the ACLU of Massachusetts, said US Customs and Border Protection officials at Logan Airport had not been aware of the court order Sunday morning until lawyers provided it to them. She said airlines had not been notified, though the court order had ordered the federal government to inform them of the ruling. The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately comment on the claims.
The Department of Homeland Security, however, released a general statement this morning that said the agency would “continue to enforce all of President Trump’s Executive Orders in a manner that ensures the safety and security of the American people.”
Early Sunday morning, Silverman was joined by other volunteer attorneys who wandered around Logan’s Terminal E, holding signs offering free legal aid to international travelers.
At Logan, Sandeep Ahuja, an Indian citizen who arrived in Boston from Dubai this morning, said he supported making air travel into the US safer, but was concerned with the approach.
“I personally feel that religion or the community, or the place, the citizenship, that should not matter,” he said.
Ahuja recieved his visa in 2014 and first came to the US in 2015. Since then he’s made three trips from Boston to Dubai and back, and said his experience was no different this time.
By early afternoon, the international terminal at Logan was largely calm and empty, except for some demonstrators and people trying to help affected travelers.
Sasha Chanoff, executive director and co-founder of the Boston-based refugee aid organization RefugePoint, said that Trump’s executive order disturbs carefully coordinated plans to bring selected refugees into the United States. Even if the program is restarted, he said, refugees could face delays of up to a year.
“It’s not like people are flooding into our country,” he said. It’s people we’ve specifically identified as being in life-threatening danger, and our government has this resettlement program to protect people’s lives,” said Chanoff.