CHARLOTTE, N.C. — President Donald Trump's travel ban barring citizens of seven predominantly Muslim nations entry into the U.S. has sparked protests around the country Saturday night and early Sunday morning, including at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
Protesters gathered inside the airport Saturday night, where police ended up making six arrests. Those protesters are set to face a judge Tuesday.
Those who gathered said they’re furious over President Donald Trump's ban on immigrants from some Muslim-majority countries.
On Saturday night a federal judge granted an emergency stay of the ban, barring the U.S. from deporting people with valid visas.
That came after lawyers for the ACLU filed a court petition.
Overnight, the Department of Homeland Security said 375 people were impacted by the order. As of Sunday morning, the president’s travel ban remained in place, and the U.S. government can still revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety.
Early Sunday morning, Charlotte Douglas officials warned protesters not to return to the airport.
Those protesters told Channel 9 that they planned to demonstrate again around 1 p.m., though a message posted on the "Charlotte Airport Protest #NoBanNoWall" Facebook page Sunday morning announced that permits could not be obtained and that there would be no protest Sunday afternoon.
Another Facebook group, "CLT Airport Protest," announced that they would be rallying at the airport from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m.
Channel 9 was at the airport Sunday afternoon and spotted a few dozen protesters assembled outside the entrance. Congresswoman Alma Adams was also at the airport, and told Channel 9 that she has been on contact with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
On Saturday evening, police arrested six people at the airport, charging four with trespassing and two others with trespassing and resisting arrest after they refused to leave.
“If he had said we’re going to do this order effective five days from now or something like that but to make it immediate,” explained one Charlotte resident, who was first to show up for Sunday’s protest.
United States Congresswoman Alma Adams shared the man’s concern. She attended Sunday’s protest and told Channel 9 her office had been contacted by concerned residents. The representative called Trump’s executive order abrupt and insensitive.
“It’s terrible to separate people from their families,” commented Adams.
Governor Roy Cooper recently issued the following statement on the recent Presidential executive order:
"The executive order issued by the President will make our homeland and our troops serving overseas less safe. Our vetting process has to be tough and thorough, but we should not impose a religious test to enter the country. It's especially troubling that individuals who risked their lives to protect our troops and served alongside them are now being turned away. We can secure the safety of our country without separating families, hurting our businesses, and turning away good people who need our help."
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In a release sent to Channel 9, CMPD said that around 9 p.m. a small group of peaceful protesters assembled in the baggage claim area.
They said roughly 50 protesters formed into two distinct groups, one protesting immigration and Trump's executive orders, while the other protested community related issues.
A short time later, police said the demonstrators transitioned to a more aggressive group, causing a disturbance at the terminal. The group was told because of public safety concerns, they needed to leave, and police said that's when some of them refused.
(Marsicano, Johnson, Valdez, Merriweather, Everette, Pathak)
Those arrested were Dhruv Pathak, 23, Samantha Valdez, 24, Eleanor Everette, 16, Michael Johnson, 24, Gloria Merriweather, 24 and James Marsicano, 23.
All six will be in court Monday.
Iraqi man wishing to live in Charlotte detained at JFK
An Iraqi man detained after arriving in New York said he was planning to settle with his family in Charlotte.
Eyewitness News reporter Elsa Gillis spoke with the Islamic Society of Greater Charlotte, who is helping that family find a home in the Queen City.
“Everything is happening very fast. We just got a phone call yesterday," one family member said.
That phone call was from a refugee assistance program in New York asking Imam Atif Chaudry, the head clergyman for the Islamic society of greater Charlotte, if he could find an emergency residence for Hameed Khalid Darweesh and his family in Charlotte.
Darweesh and another Iraqi National were detained when they arrived at JFK in New York Friday night.
They’re now at the center of a lawsuit that could represent the first legal challenge to Trump's controversial executive order banning citizens of seven Muslim majority countries from entering the U.S.
"We had no idea this was how bad things were going to be," Chaudry said.
The lawsuit argues detaining the men because of the executive order violates the Fifth Amendment.
The court papers said they both have valid visas and for 10 years Darweesh worked various contract positions for the U.S. government, which has made him a target of anti-American militias in Iraq.
"It’s very disconcerting and very sad that a refugee family, a family that's trying to escape persecution that has been helping the efforts in Iraq, that the doors would be shut on them," Chaudry said.
Darweesh was released Saturday and addressed the support he's received.
"This is the humanity. This is the soul of America. This is what pushed me to move, leave my country and come here," Darweesh said.
Chaudry said the Darweesh family will be in New York a few more days as he works to find housing in Charlotte. He said he's hopeful what happened Friday night at JFK won't continue to happen.
"I believe there's a lot more open-hearted, compassionate, merciful people than we're led to believe by the policies that are being executed right now," Chaudry said.
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