RALEIGH (WTVD) --More than a thousand protestors showed up outside Terminal 2 at Raleigh-Durham International Airport Sunday to protest President Donald Trump's travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries and other immigration actions.
Due to safety and impact to airport operations, we are ending the protest. Please return to your vehicles. 1/2— RDU Int'l Airport (@RDUAirport) January 29, 2017
Though airport officials urged participants to return to their vehicles, the protesters made no sign of leaving. The masses continued to speak out against Trump's sweeping executive order that he said was a necessary step to stop "radical Islamic terrorists" from coming to the U.S.
The order included a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen and a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee program.
RDU officials said the protest permit was only for 150 people, but more than 1,000 showed up. The crowd finally dissipated around 4:30 p.m.
Airport security told our crew there were no arrests made; officers categorized the protest as "peaceful."
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Among the protestors were Abdullah Khadra and family - who are in Raleigh on work visas. Their 3-year-old daughter's visa expired, and she is stranded in Jordan because of the travel ban. The father emotionally told ABC11 his daughter is in poor health and he is desperate to reunite with her.
"We fight ISIS," Khadra said. "We fight extremists. But this is an extremist decision. This is unacceptable. This is very unjust."
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The crowd steadily grew as protesters chanted "Let them in!" and "This is what democracy looks like!"
One man in the crowd, Theo Vangogh, supports the ban. The message on his sign aimed to remind the protesters of recent terror attacks.
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"You know who is committing all these acts of terrorism and we really want to keep our country safe and protect ourselves," Vangogh shared. "We need to do what we need to do to protect our way of life."
President Trump also defended his executive order Sunday, saying it "is not about religion," but "about terror and keeping our country safe."
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Governor Roy Cooper said the executive order will make our homeland and our troops serving overseas less safe.
"We can secure the safety of our country without separating families, hurting our businesses and turning away good people who need our help," he said in part in a statement.
However, the NCGOP is praising Trump's executive order.
In a statement Sunday, the party said, "President Trump promised to put Americans security front and center of all maters and he is do so."
Though Scott Holmes, a civil rights attorney and NCCU Law Professor, says the ban is unconstitutional.
"There's another part of the federal immigration law that prohibits discrimination based on national origin or places of residence," Holmes said. "So by its own terms, the executive order violates the federal law that prohibits discrimination against whole countries and whole nations."
Meanwhile, advocates for travelers say the chaos is likely to continue. The executive director of National Immigration Law Center, Marielena Hincapie, said "this is just the beginning."
"We're really in a crisis mode, a constitutional crisis mode in our country, and we're going to need everyone," she said. "This is definitely one of those all-hands-on-deck moments."
RDU says so far they have not been contacted about future protests.
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