Local politicians speak out on president’s travel ban at anti-Trump rally

FORT LAUDERDALE-HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - Local politicians denounced the president’s temporary travel ban at an anti-Trump protest at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Monday afternoon.

Lawmakers showed up and took the podium at the airport to say that President Trump’s executive order is unconstitutional and needs to be stopped.

“I will not be silent. I will not be quiet. I will make sure to use every ounce of my energy and every inch of my authority that my office grants me standing with my colleagues, standing with leaders in this community to say that we will not go back,” said U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla. “We will not be a country that doesn’t stand up for our values, for freedom and for democracy.”

The rally takes place one day after protesters swarmed FLL and Miami International Airport with signs and speaker phones. “Donald Trump wants to divide us, and he is actually uniting us,” said one protester at MIA.

Among the demonstrators at MIA was Mary Dye and her family, who immigrated to the U.S. from Syria. “The people are standing up. This is what democracy is all about. This is what America is all about,” she said.

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., also spoke to the crowd to call the ban an unlawful attack on Muslims. “With a simple stroke of his pen, the president undermined our fundamental American values and attempted to return us to a day when prejudiced policies barred immigrants because of their accent, their skin color or their god.”

“We also saw the start of what is going to be the Muslim ban,” said Kareem Moheed with Emerge USA. “This president campaigned on it, and as much as he wishes to deny it now, that is what we are seeing: decriminalization of religious beliefs.”

The ban has also affected many Americans who were forced to relive their past, like Allan Hall.

“As a Holocaust survivor, I cannot remain silent when people are excluded from entry into the United States because of their religion or national origin,” Hall said, as he fought back tears. “Too many of my relatives were murdered in Europe in World War II because the United States and most of the world considered us undesirable.”

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said Trump should have had a better plan. “I don’t know what the thinking is,” she said. “How many terrorist acts have been committed by people from those countries against the United States? Zero.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, however, supports the executive order. “We have Muslims that love our state, and we have Muslims that love our country, and then we have radical Islam that actually wants to do harm to us,” he said. “From my standpoint, I want everybody in my state to be safe, whether you live here or you visited here, but this is not a Muslim ban. What President Trump has said, this is about public safety.”

Those who gathered at FLL, however, disagree with Scott’s views on the ban.

Ros-Lehtinen told 7News that Trump should have worked with Congress and should have possibly asked for suggestions. “We want to keep the homeland safe. I agree with President Trump, but does the executive order accomplish that? No, it doesn’t,” she said.

Meanwhile, demonstrators gathered at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Yale Law Professor Muneer Ahmad led a teach-in.

“I think that there is a lot of worry and anxiety about the moment that we’re in,” said Ahmad. “They were worried about themselves, about their family members, about people in their community.”

UM and Florida International University leadership are hoping to ease those fears, urging those who might be affected by the travel ban not to leave the country.

Some students, like Feras Ahmed, a U.S. citizen whose parents are Pakistani immigrants, fears others won’t be given a chance his parents were given.

“I can’t imagine what it must feel like for you to work as hard as you need to work to come here, and then have the door shut in your face,” he said.

Both Wasserman Schultz and Deutch said they will continue to fight the travel ban for the next 120 days, until it is no longer in effect.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which has been involved in at least one of the lawsuits challenging the travel ban, has received $24 million in donations over the weekend to help cover immigration attorneys’ fees. That figure is six times its yearly average.

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