After two days of protests at San Francisco International Airport in response to detentions under President Trump's executive order imposing a federal travel ban on seven majority-Muslim countries, all five detainees at the local airport were released yesterday according to officials from the airport and Customs and Border Protection. Four detainees were released early Sunday afternoon with the fifth and final detainee released soon after.
Local CBP advises 4 individuals that were detained under Executive Order have been released. 5th and final individual still being processed.— flySFO (@flySFO) January 29, 2017
Local CBP confirms the last person detained a SFO by the Executive Order has been released.— flySFO (@flySFO) January 29, 2017
Touching video shows an elderly Iranian couple embracing after their release, which was advocated by the Asian Law Caucus. The two were reportedly detained for 30 hours.
President Trump's executive order of last week, which was temporarily stayed by a federal judge in Brooklyn as quickly as Saturday evening, drew immediate protests at international airports across the country as dozens of travelers were caught in its net. The countries on the 90-day travel ban list are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. Trump's order also bars refugees from entry to the US for 120 days and bans Syrian refugees indefinitely.
As word of local detentions spread, beginning at 3 p.m. on Saturday, activists flooded SFO's International Terminal, where protestors still remained as of Sunday evening.
On Sunday, protesters shut down the terminal altogether, delaying flights and altering schedules.
I was supposed to fly home from SFO tonight but police/TSA shut terminals down because of peaceful protest. I still support protesters. 1/2— Nunc Est Infernum (@profceastman) January 30, 2017
80-year-old Abdollah Mostafavi, a green-card holder who splits his time between Canada, the US, and his native Iran, was one of the travelers detained at SFO. Mostafavi was bound for hip replacement surgery in San Francisco, per the AP, when he was stopped suddenly and detained for six hours before being released into the arms of his 46-year-old daughter and his grandson. “He said it seemed they had the order to detain them but had no idea what to do next,” his daughter, Mozhgan Mostafavi, told the AP. Her father had been held for hours in a room with as many as 15 other Iranians, she said. "I don’t know any Iranians who have been in a terrorist attack. It’s so dehumanizing. It’s so insulting. I grew up during the Revolution in Iran and I feel that same suffocation. It’s hard to breathe.”
There were early reports on Saturday that one detainee was sent to county jail for detention, a loose thread amidst other stories of releases.
Incredible energy still at SFO as some detainees being released; can confirm 1 person sent to county jail for detention pic.twitter.com/9RPGgbu3Ac— Sana Saleem (@sanasaleem) January 29, 2017
lawyer working with an individual detained at SFO, received news 30 year old Iranian man put in jail— Pamela Larson (@PamReporting) January 29, 2017
Thousands of activists at SFO over the course of the two-day protest were supported with supplies like food and water and even good cheer provided by a brass band.
This is awesome--someone showed up with In-N-Out 🍔and pizza 🍕 and is handing it out to the protesters at SFO. pic.twitter.com/ggaJnJNCUA— Jenny Luna (@J2theLuna) January 29, 2017
Band at SFO protest. Huge energy as protesters demand release of detainees pic.twitter.com/L4tpg3Ha0f— Brian Nguyen (@bhngyn) January 29, 2017
A brass band leading protestors through the International Terminal at SFO. pic.twitter.com/AWzLxqPMag— Sergio Quintana (@svqjournalist) January 30, 2017
Sharon, a Catholic nun from SF, killin it at the SFO protest pic.twitter.com/mgwja4234s— Madison Pauly (@msjpauly) January 29, 2017
Local official entities also appeared to support the protestors. BART, which many used to access SFO, encouraged riders to travel and emphasized inclusivity.
You can take BART to all kinds of weekend events - also, direct service to SFO is running great right now.— SFBART (@SFBART) January 28, 2017
All races, colors, religions, genders, ages, disabled, veterans, orientations, sexes & those of foreign national origin are welcome on BART.— SFBART (@SFBART) January 29, 2017
When some Twitter users criticized the transit agency's tweet "propaganda" and politically motived, BART responded that "This is a list of federal protected classes. It is neither political nor controversial. #BayAreaRidesTogether"
Even SFO management affirmed the rights of protesters in a statement issued yesterday "regarding the President's Executive Order relating to immigration:"
We appreciate all those who have so passionately expressed their concerns over the President's Executive Order relating to immigration. We share these concerns deeply, as our highest obligation is to the millions of people from around the world whom we serve. Although Customs and Border Protection services are strictly federal and operate outside the jurisdiction of all U.S. airports, including SFO, we have requested a full briefing from this agency to ensure our customers remain a top priority. We are also making supplies available to travelers affected by this Executive Order, as well as to the members of the public who have so bravely taken a stand against this action by speaking publicly in our facilities.
According to ABC7, more protestors of Trump's immigration ban could be headed to SFO today.