Protest Time

Dallas lawyers and protesters help spring detainees at DFW Airport

Dallas lawyers and protesters help spring detainees at DFW Airport

DFW Airport, refugee protest
Protesters thronged DFW Airport over the weekend. Photo courtesy of Finley Dunn

For the second weekend in a row, Dallas-Fort Worth joined another national protest, this time over a travel ban instituted by President Donald Trump.

The hastily enacted ban temporarily prohibits refugees from coming into the United States, with a special focus on seven countries including Syria, Iraq, and Iran. Lawsuits contesting the ban have already been filed by the ACLU, as well as four states: Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, and Washington.

Protests sprang up at airports across the country, including DFW Airport, where dozens of travelers were detained. A large group of lawyers mobilized to assist detainees; they've created a Facebook page called DFW Detained.

"As attorneys organized in cities across the nation, the federal government sporadically released detainees without advance notice — thus slowing down the attorneys' effective use of legal process to hold the federal government accountable for what we believe is an unlawful and unconstitutional Executive Order," says their statement posted on Facebook. "Protests at airports across the country, including at DFW Airport, have been large and peaceful, and have shown that Americans will not tolerate such discriminatory Executive Orders.

"Over 100 attorneys assembled at DFW Airport, led by attorneys Angela Hunt, Chris Hamilton, Matthew Mitzner, and others, and worked diligently and without compensation since Saturday to ensure the release of all individuals that have been detained pursuant to this Executive Order," they say.

They made repeated attempts to meet with the Customs and Border Patrol at DFW Airport to confirm release of all detainees. By 7 pm on January 29, Judge Clay Jenkins and Mayor Mike Rawlings were welcoming the detainees to a hotel.

The statement describes the situation as frustrating for the attorneys, detainees, and families.

"We have been in contact with attorneys at airports across the county and have learned that what we have been experiencing at DFW Airport has been occurring at airports across the United States," they say. "The attorneys in each city are communicating and coordinating a national strategy to fight this Executive Order in federal courts across the country."

Attorneys will be at DFW Airport from 6 am to midnight to assist detainees and their families as necessary. Lawyers who wish to join can sign up via Sign-Up Genius. Attorneys are providing their time and services for free. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with expenses.

Last weekend protesters in Dallas and around the world marched for women's rights and social justice.