Houstonians protest travel restrictions at Bush Airport

By Janelle Bludau - Reporter, Brandon Walker - Reporter

HOUSTON - Joining protesters across the country, hundreds were outside Discovery Green for hours Saturday, exercising their right to free speech and standing against President Donald Trump's most recent executive order.

Dozens were holding signs and chanting their opposition to the order that indefinitely banned Syrian refugees from entering the country and blocked citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries.

On Saturday night, a federal judge blocked part of the order, saying refugees and others with valid visas held at the airport should not be sent back to their home country.

People of all races and religions were out protesting Sunday. They said the foundation of this country is to welcome refugees and immigrants.

And they said while some of them may have once been divided, this new administration is bringing them closer together.

"I am here today to stand beside you and say this is wrong. This needs to change, and I will not be silent. We will not be silent," one protester said.

"So many people are being discriminated against that we're forming a sort of group solidarity with one another," Jennifer Fagen said.

Meanwhile, local lawmakers were also speaking out. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, held a press conference at Bush Intercontinental Airport.

She says she will not stand for this executive action and she will be heading to Washington, D.C., asking for the repeal of the order.

"I take issue with not acknowledging when a particular group is isolated or pained, and I also take issue with the rebuking of a longstanding process of accepting refugees here into this country," Jackson Lee said.

Protestors left Discovery Green to join more people at Bush Airport.

"Free our people. Free our people."

Songs of freedom, signs of protest and solidarity. Amidst the crowd of protesters against President Trump's Executive Order on immigration.

"We're Americans and we are here to stay," said Ali Zaidi and Sarah Slamen, standing with their American flag.

"We're both Muslims here and my family is four generations of refugees,” Zaidi said. “We've been for four generations looking for a place where we can be who we are and worship without fear and finally, my father ground that place in America. So, this is the only home I know. I was born in Houston Texas."

The crowd had grown larger at Terminal E Sunday, which all remained peaceful.

Houston Police kept an eye on that.

A group of attorneys also assembled, offering free legal help to families of those with valid visas to enter the U.S. -- though may still be detained.

"We're here to assist and to monitor and hopefully monitor that the stay is honored," one attorney said.

That stay was signed last night by federal judge in New York is temporary.

It orders all refugees and others who were detained at airports across the US -- as part of the President's Executive Order -- not to be sent back to their home country.

"What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now," a protestor yelled.

Mohammad Alrubaee is a US citizen who lives in Houston said he moved to the US in 2009 as a refugee after working as a translator for the military in Iraq.

 

"When I came to the United States I joined the military as a combat medic and a nurse. So, I earned my U.S. citizenship,"Alrubaee said.

The next organized protest is Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Starbucks in the Galleria. 

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