Ann Arborites join DTW protest

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Cheryl Hartland, left, and Abbey Combs, residents of Whitmore Lake, take part in Sunday’s demonstration at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. | Rabab Jafri

Thousands of people stood in the Michigan cold outside Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Sunday holding signs saying “No Ban, No Wall,” “Stop Separating Families” and “Love Trumps Hate.” People flooded in and out of the international McNamara Terminal’s baggage claim to take breaks from the cold, but chanted wholeheartedly: “No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here.” 

The protest was in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order to ban nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States for 90 days. The ban also halted all refugee admissions for 120 days, and indefinitely halted Syrian refugees.

People from all over Michigan attended the protest, including Washtenaw County residents. Cheryl Hartland and Abbey Combs, residents of Whitmore Lake, said they were there in support of human rights. “Trump is destroying our country,” Hatland said. “He’s taking away everyone’s rights.”

“And we support immigrants,” Combs added.

Students from the University of Michigan also attended the protest, after many of them attended a similar protest in Ann Arbor earlier in the day. 

“I don’t know how I could not come here. I’ve felt helpless and angry the past few days,” said Matt White, a senior in the School of Nursing. “And I think in current issues (Trump has) been implementing laws and encouraging a divisive and hurtful political climate that does not represent who we are or who we should strive to be as Americans.” 

U-M students Joe Shea, left, and Matt White | Rabab Jafri

Joe Shea, a senior in the School of Public Policy, said the protest was important. “I truly believe that quote that says injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” he said. “I personally do not agree with the executive orders taken in the past 10 days and I wanted to pair my thoughts with actions.”

Washtenaw County is home to many refugees, as Jewish Family Services alone resettled almost 175 refugees in the past fiscal year. The Ann Arbor City Council has issued a resolution that encourages community members to welcome refugees.

Rania Daboul, a Syrian refugee and U-M student, said the ban infringes on her rights. “It is my right to leave the country. It matters to me because it restricts my family and my movements. We were planning on meeting my grandma in the next couple of years because my mother hasn’t seen her in five years, and now we can’t go to see her in Turkey.” 

The executive order initially applied even to those who have green cards or valid visas. This worries Daboul. “The fact that people that would be here legally aren’t allowed to come back, it makes me feel like even though I’m here legally, I could be deported.” 

Some of the protesters outside Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Sunday. | Rabab Jafri



Rabab Jafri is an intern with The Ann magazine. She follows up on statements and questions raised by ANNtourage participants. She's a student at the University of Michigan.