A group of South Orange and Maplewood activists protested this afternoon at Newark International Liberty Airport, even as local resettlement efforts scrambled to adjust their plans in the wake of an executive order signed by President Donald J. Trump that created chaos for refugees as well as nationals from seven different majority Muslim countries.
The Executive Order, titled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, “barred Syrian refugees indefinitely, and blocked entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The Department of Homeland Security said that the order also barred green card holders from those countries from re-entering the United States,” according to The New York Times.
Across the U.S. and the world, residents of the designated nations were held, not allowed to board planes or sent back, sparking confusion, protests and legal action.
Local resident Nina Essel along with Amy Harris and others from South Orange and Maplewood rallied at Newark airport late this afternoon, inspired by a larger demonstration at JFK International.
The group left around 4 p.m. from Summit Ave between Garfield and Baldwin, and headed for Newark in what Essel called a “grassroots effort to show solidarity.”
Meanwhile Maria Blancheri from the Archdiocese of Newark said an information meeting on how to help the Archdiocese resettle refugees was still on for Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at Our Lady of Sorrows in South Orange. Blancheri who is directing an effort to resettle 51 refugees — including some from Syria — this year in Essex and Hudson counties, said, “We’re pretty upset about the news. I’m not sure what our options are at this point, it’s so soon. We might get some special immigrant visa cases, but even that is unclear at this point.”
(As of Saturday night, Blancheri and others were monitoring news that a federal judge had suspended at least part of the executive order.)
Blancheri also forwarded a strongly worded statement from Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, calling President Trump’s executive order on immigration “the opposite of what it means to be an American.” (See full text below.)