No Ban, No Wall: On the Ground at the LAX Protest

On Sunday, January 29, 2017, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) became ground for hope, action, resilience, courage, resistance and dissent in the face of fear and the consequences of our current president’s January 27, 2017 executive order banning travel from seven Muslim countries, temporarily banning all refugees, and indefinitely closing our doors to Syrian refugees.

As a humanitarian immigration attorney, my conscience compelled me to action. President Trump’s ban on refugees and citizens of those seven Muslim countries affects many of my clients, countless members of my community, and me: an American-born Indian Muslim engaged to an American-born Iranian.

As first-generation Americans getting ready to celebrate our intercultural marriage in a country that is as much ours as it is anyone else’s, we directly feel the unwelcome effects of the executive order. Iranian members of our family, that helped shape my fiancé’s strong character, are banned from attending our wedding. He’s the first-born son and their presence at our wedding was as important and anticipated as our wedding itself.

As I chanted “Let them in!” and “No ban, no wall!” with my fellow compassionate citizens of the world, I looked directly into the souls of strangers who became friends, embraced people of all faiths and races, and was energized and empowered by the peaceful resistance. During those hours marching, chanting, connecting with others, I couldn’t help but think “this is what democracy looks like.”

After two days of powerful activism through protests and filing of habeas petitions, most individuals detained at LAX were finally released into the United States, late Sunday night.

For more visual reports from the front lines of U.S. events, check out “The Women’s March in 35mm” or lend your eyes to the our photo feature on the Dakota Access Pipeline, “You Can’t Drink Oil: 72 Hours at Standing Rock“.