Media

Hundreds gather to protest immigration order at Indy airport

January 29, 2017 | Indianapolis Star | Link to Article

More than 600 Hoosiers — including faith leaders, lawmakers and best-selling author John Green — gathered at the Indianapolis International Airport on Sunday to protest President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration.

Amid cheers of "Not here, not today! No fascist USA!" and "Welcome to his 10th day, we will not go away," people of all races, religions and ages came out against what many said is an unconstitutional move.

"It's important to make the statement that this is a nationwide movement and people are disgusted and horrified by this executive order," said Green, Indianapolis-based author of "The Fault in Our Stars." "I'm just here because I don't know what else to do, to be honest."

What started at 3:45 p.m. with half a dozen people grew to hundreds an hour later at the baggage claim area. The Indianapolis Airport Authority roped off areas and increased security for the protest, but officials had no comment about the event, which was organized Saturday by a few individuals and organizations, including the Indianapolis Congregation Action Network, IndyCAN. As travelers moved through the baggage claim, some stopped to watch or take photos, but most gave little attention to the large group.

"We do not want this mess to continue," said Cheryl Faux, one of the Indianapolis event's organizers. Faux, who is retired, said she often helps organize civically minded events. "(This protest) gives a message to the Muslim community that we stand behind them. It sends a message to our elected officials that we won't take it anymore."

A federal judge in Brooklyn issued an emergency order Saturday halting deportation of such immigrants trapped at U.S. airports. Judges in Massachusetts and Virginia also ordered halts. Court rulings will have little impact on "overall implementation" of Trump's order, the Department of Homeland Security said Sunday.

The order has also found both supporters and opponents among prominent people and politicians in Indiana. Former Gov. Mitch Daniels, who called it a "bad idea, poorly implemented."

Rep. Luke Messer, a member of the House GOP leadership, said it's "way past time" for the country to be sure it's protecting the American people from threats.

In Indiana, protesters also gathered in Bloomington and South Bend, . Rep. Andre Carson, (D-IN), the first Muslim member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Sen. Joe Donnelly gave speeches at the airport.

"This isn't about black or white, rich or poor, Republican or Democratic," Carson said through a megaphone. "This is about one America as as Hoosiers, we're saying 'enough is enough.'"

Carson, who had to make a flight at 5 p.m. vowed to stand up against what he called a "bigotry campaign" in an earlier statement issued by his office.

"For those who want to make America great again, we gave to remind them that the first article of the constitution says congress shall make no law respecting establishment of religion," he said. "Make no mistake about it: This is a Muslim ban."

Organizers and religious leaders took turns speaking until about 6:45 p.m., but many protesters stayed behind to continue chanting.

"I can't believe in 2017 that we're talking about this," Christine Kassebnia, Carmel, said. "It's shameful."

Jesa DeVir brought her 7-year-old daughter, Alisza, to the protest.

"She lives here," DeVir said. "She should know what's going on in the world. I'm concerned about the world that she's growing up in, and when when I was a kid, I wasn't educated. I want her to be educated."

View image on Twitter