PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A massive crowd of protesters lined the exit of terminal A at the Philadelphia International Airport on Sunday to rally against president Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.
“We are not going to stand for hate and intolerance,” said Charlotte Stone of Pottstown.READ MORE: Triple Shooting At Penn's Landing Leaves 3 Teenagers Injured: Philadelphia Police
The executive order, signed by Trump at 4:42 Friday afternoon, indefinitely suspended the Syrian refugee program.
It also bans the entry of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries for the next ninety days, and suspends all refugee admissions for the next 120 days.
“My initial reaction was absolute disgust,” David Plotkin of North Philadelphia said of the executive order.
That’s why he decided to attend the protest at the airport.
“I saw all the people sitting down and all the people of color telling their stories and it hit me so hard about all the horrible injustice I’ve never had to deal with as a white person,” Plotkin said.
Plotkin said Philadelphia Police detained him and charged him with failure to disperse, a civil violation that carries a $100 penalty.
“The organizers of the protest told us the cops would give us three warnings to clear out and disperse and then they were going to start making arrests… In the whole crush of everything, I got pushed back by some of the cops and I stood my ground and I told them they can’t do that. Eventually, they tackled me.”
Senator Tom Carper also attended the protest. He serves as the highest ranking Democrat on the senate homeland security and governmental affairs committee.
“This executive order is un-American, I think it’s unlawful, I think it’s uninformed. I think ultimately as Americans, it will make us unsafe and play us right into the hands of ISIS,” Carper said.READ MORE: Philadelphia Weather: Heat Advisory In Effect Until Sunday Evening As Temperatures Hit Record Highs
Beyond anger, some, like majd martini, felt profound sadness.
“We never imagined this happening here in America. I am feeling humiliated, because I am Muslim and I am Syrian and we are not welcome here anymore. That’s what I feel. And I don’t feel safe anymore,” she said.
A year and a half ago, martini says she fled the Syrian war and moved to Oaklyn, New Jersey with her two young sons.
“What I know about America is this is the land of freedom. This is the land of liberty. And this is where everyone has a chance to be someone special. And that’s why I chose this country,” Martini said.
But Martini’s husband and other family members remain in Syria. With the executive order in place, it’s unclear if they will ever be reunited.
“Who knows? Maybe never.”
But her presence at the protest carried a simple message: one of gratitude — and hope.
“I just wanted to come and say thank you. I think humanity can do anything.”
On Sunday, President Trump released this statement regarding his executive order:MORE NEWS: Betts Falls Triple Shy Of Cycle, Leads Dodgers Past Phillies
“America is a proud nation of immigrants and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and border. America has always been the land of the free and home of the brave. We will keep it free and keep it safe, as the media knows, but refuses to say. My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months. The seven countries named in the Executive Order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror. To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion – this is about terror and keeping our country safe. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order. We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days. I have tremendous feeling for the people involved in this horrific humanitarian crisis in Syria. My first priority will always be to protect and serve our country, but as President I will find ways to help all those who are suffering.”