A plethora of Chicago-based civil rights and social justice organizations and activists turned up at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Wednesday to denounce Donald Trump’s third attempt to implement a Muslim ban.
CAIR Chicago, in collaboration with Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights, Syrian Community Network, Arab American Family Services, Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, Arab American Action Network, Jewish Voice for Peace Chicago, the Jewish Council for Urban Affairs, and Advancing Justice Chicago, co-hosted a press conference and protest at the airport’s international terminal.
The newest version of the so-called “travel ban,” signed in late September, extended and made indefinite the blanket ban on eight nations, all of which – with the exception of Venezuela and North Korea – are Muslim-majority countries. Parts of the ban were expected to go into effect on October 18. However, two federal judges blocked the travel ban for all countries except Venezuela and North Korea. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson, who blocked the ban a day before it was to be implemented, ruled it “plainly discriminates based on nationality.”
Despite the welcome development, activists still showed up to O’Hare to ask the courts to uphold the block and permanently declare any iteration of the Muslim ban as unconstitutional. About 45 people showed up to the rally carrying signs criticizing the ban and calling for an end to Muslim profiling. The event was part of a greater nationwide effort to oppose the Trump administration’s anti-Muslim policies. A series of protests and workshops pertaining to the ban took place across the country under the banner #NoMuslimBanEver.
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Chicago’s event featured a variety of speakers condemning Trump’s harmful policies.
“We are banning human beings not because what they have done in the past, not because what they might do in the future … but for one reason and one reason alone, and that is where they happen to be born” said Ahmed Rehab of CAIR Chicago.
Another speaker, Muhammad Sankari of the Arab American Action Network, was highly critical of Trump’s so-called Muslim ban 3.0.
“This always was and still is a Muslim ban,” said Sankari. “The addition of the countries of Venezuela and North Korea are nothing more than a thin, badly-placed veil to cover up the true motives of this ban.”
Sankari also spoke passionately about the need to stand in solidarity with all those negatively impacted by Trump’s policies.
“Just as we reject this ban, we continue to reject all the racist and borderline criminal policies that have come out of the White House – including attacks on undocumented people, attacks on people of color, attacks on women, attacks on the LGBT community, and attacks on so many other communities that have faced historical oppression in this country.”
During his remarks, Sankari mentioned the thousands of protesters who packed the same terminal earlier this year to denounce previous iterations of the ban. He declared this will continue to be the case in Chicago pending appeals from the Trump administration and the awaited U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the ban.
“There is no business as usual as long as our loved ones are being banned based solely on their nationality or solely on their religion,” he concluded.