MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - A group of volunteer lawyers spent much of Sunday at Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport monitoring international arrivals.
The lawyers from a diverse group of law firms and nonprofits reported no major compliance problems related to President Donald Trump’s executive order, or a federal judge’s “stay” delaying a portion of the order.
“What you’re seeing is the first wave of response,” Regina Jefferies, an attorney with the International Refugee Assistance Project, told Fox 9 at the airport.
The Minnesota American Civil Liberties Union told Fox 9 the ACLU is not aware of any detentions at MSP related to the executive order. However, their lawyers had heard from three people overseas worried whether they can return.
Lawyers at MSP expressed frustration with U.S. Customs and Border Protection for not telling the attorneys whether anyone was detained due to the executive order. One lawyer said “there’s a complete lack of information” with local customs officers.
Stationed near the automatic doors forming the international-arrivals entrance, the attorneys kept their eyes on the arrivals board and for any family members waiting an arrival from one of the seven countries blocked from sending citizens to the U.S. for 90 days.
One son was waiting for his mother, a dual citizen of Iran. She arrived from Belgium and was allowed into the U.S.
“It was a huge relief. I texted the whole family,” her son told Fox 9.
“As attorneys, we want to make sure they understand their rights,” Loan Huynh, a volunteer attorney, told Fox 9.
“It seems discordant with who we are. And that’s why we’re here as lawyers. Not just to make sure people understand their Due Process rights. But to send the message America is place where people are welcomed, not shunned,” Kevin Rich, another volunteer attorney, told Fox 9.
Trump’s executive order, signed on Friday, bars entry for all refugees for 120 days, and indefinitely for Syrian refugees. It also bans entry for citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
On Saturday night, a federal judge issued a “stay,” ordering officials to not send back travelers who had already arrived to U.S. airports. However, the “stay” likely does not affect anyone still overseas.