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Thousands at New York’s JFK Airport Protest Visa and Refugee Suspensions

Protesters gather at New York's JFK airport on Jan. 28, 2017. (Credit: Bryan R. Smith / AFP/Getty Images)

Thousands of New Yorkers headed out to John F. Kennedy airport Saturday evening to protest President Trump’s new executive order turning back refugees and other visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Word of the spontaneous demonstration was spread across social media, with activists like filmmaker Michael Moore calling out “Everybody in NYC area— head to JFK Terminal 4 NOW.” By late afternoon, it appeared that more than 2,000 had heeded the call to protest, to the dismay of airport security struggling to keep the terminal clear for travelers.

One group chanted, “Let them in.” Another read out loud from the Emma Lazarus poem inscribed in the base of the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free ….’’

Earlier in the day, 12 people from countries on the suspension list were taken into detention, although one of them, an Iraqi who had worked as a translator for the U.S. military, was later released and allowed to enter the U.S.

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