INDIANAPOLIS — Hundreds of protesters from around Indiana, as well as two federal government officials from Indiana, gathered Sunday evening at the Indianapolis International Airport in response to President Trump’s most recent executive order.
The protest followed the example of other demonstrations at airports, including John F. Kennedy International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport.
Rep. Andre Carson, D-District 7, and Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, spoke at the peaceful rally.
“As Hoosiers, we are saying enough is enough,” Carson said. “If you think we are going to sit back as concerned citizens and let you dictate and codify bigotry, we will say no and we will stand up to you and make sure you no longer stay in office.”
Trump’s order, signed Friday, suspended both immigrants and non-immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations — Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen — from entering the United States for 90 days. No refugees are allowed to come to the U.S. for 120 days under the order. Those who oppose the travel ban say it is a discriminatory order against Muslims.
Indianapolis International Airport representatives said no one traveling from the seven countries on the ban list was detained at the airport during the weekend. Exodus Refugee Network announced Saturday there were no expected Syrian families coming to the state this weekend.
It is unknown how many travelers from the other six Muslim-majority countries were unable to come to Indianapolis. The Indianapolis International Airport has few direct international flights.
The protest took place in the baggage claim area of the airport and wrapped around the luggage carousels. Carson, a Muslim, joined in with the crowd chanting pro-refugee cheers such as “No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here” at the beginning of the protest. He addressed the crowd later and said the travel ban is a divisive policy.
Donnelly, a seemingly surprise speaker, thanked the crowd for standing up for American values.
“This executive order is not what America is about,” he said.
Donnelly later told reporters he believed the ban is targeted against Muslim populations and discriminatory toward those already living in the U.S.
“Green card holders who live here who go to IU or Purdue or Notre Dame or Ball State who maybe want to come back can’t get back in,” Donnelly said.
He also said the Congressional Armed Services committee, on which Donnelly sits, has spoken out against the ban, and he is concerned Trump’s plan to keep out terrorists will instead put the U.S. at risk for attacks.
“This gives Al-Qaida and ISIS a recruiting tool that they can use against us,” he said.
No counter protesters or anyone in favor of the ban came to the event.
Galen Denney, one of the event organizers, said he felt compelled to put on the event because he felt only thinking and posting about the ban on social media was not enough.
“I have friends that are Syrian refugees and friends that are Muslim,” Denney said. “This issue was one I couldn’t let go. It is just antithetical to what I think it is to be an American.”
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