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100s Crowd Syr Hancock Airport to Protest Trump Immigrant Ban, Support Immigrants & Refugees

Reena Tretler/WAER News

The crowd at Syracuse's Hancock Airport flooded the main terminal Sunday night, with people filling the upstairs common areas as well.  It was all part of a protest against the immigration ban imposed by executive order by President Donald Trump over the weekend. 

Chants rang out several times: "No ban, no registry, this is our Democracy" chimed one.  Another said, "Muslims are welcome here; No hate, no fear."  And a lengthy chant said, "Down with white supremacy; no ban, no registry."

Credit Reena Tretler/WAER News
The crowd had to spill over up to the balcony at the airport

The rally at the airport mirrored those at dozens of other airports around the nation, including JFK in New York City.  Prior reporting recounted that as many as 200 people who were attempting to travel to Syracuse for refugee resettlement or other visitation from the seven countries in the Trump ban were held up.  At some airports, people with visas to get into the US were detained. 


Credit Reena Tretler/WAER News
Sunday night protest against the immigration ban executive order brought out local residents to stand in solidarity with immigrants and refugees.

Cornell University issued a statement, signed be President Hunter Rawlings, showing support for students connected to the banned counties that are both on the Central New York campus, the New York City medical campus, and overseas programs.

"Over the last few days, we have been in regular contact with our community members who are directly impacted by the executive order, including students on our Ithaca campus; students, postdoctoral fellows, clinical trainees, and faculty at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City; and students at Weill Cornell Medicine in Qatar. We are offering to each our assistance and unwavering support. Cornell will not compromise its admissions and hiring standards of excellence and will continue to solicit, accept, and process applications from international students from around the world, including from the impacted countries."

The statement(read in entirety here) mentions the psychological toll the ban will have on students and others affected, along with the logistical and travel difficulties.  Cornell is offering the following assistance directly to those involved:

  • Cornell will assist you if you are detained or prevented from re-entering the U.S. while traveling.
  • The university will continue to honor its commitments to all our current and future Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) undergraduate and graduate students.
  • The Cornell Law School will provide legal assistance to undocumented Cornell students who may wish to consult with a lawyer about the implications of the federal administration’s policies for their immigration status.
  • A dedicated team of law school faculty will also offer legal assistance in the form of representation for DACA students in potential deportation proceedings, should the need arise.
  • We will continue to protect the privacy of our student information and records from unauthorized or unlawful intrusion. The long-standing practice of the Cornell University Police Department (CUPD) has been not to seek immigration status information in the course of its law enforcement activities, unless related to criminal violations or threats of violent behavior.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman joined 15 other state Attorneys General in a statement saying that the Trump order is unconstitutional, and pledging to use resources of their office to fight it.  Schneiderman further noted some Homeland Security officers and Customs and Border Protection staff were moving forward on removing people from the US, despite a federal court injunction holding up actions related to the ban.

Meanwhile Governor Andrew Cuomo set up a state hotline phone number to protect refugees and help anyone who believes an individual is missing or detained. 

To Report Loved Ones Who Are Passengers on Incoming Flights and Believed to be Missing or Detained, Call 1-888-769-7243

“As New Yorkers who live in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, we welcome new immigrants as a source of energy and celebrate them as a source of revitalization for our state,” Governor Cuomo said. “We will ensure New York remains a beacon of hope and opportunity and will work to protect the rights of those seeking refuge in our state."

Saturday the governor directed the Department of State and the Port Authority to use whatever legal means were necessary to help any immigrants and refugees in transit experiencing detention. 

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.