As protests continue today (Jan. 28) at the JFK airport in New York City, many are taking to social media to express their outrage regarding President Donald Trump's recent executive order banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. This also includes an Iraqi man who worked as an aid to U.S. forces for a decade.
As reported, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, 53, was held for roughly 17 hours at JFK and was released earlier this afternoon. He has filed the first lawsuit against Trump's inhumane action.
According to the report, Darweesh was in the air traveling to the U.S. from Istanbul when the order was signed, resulting in his being detained immediately upon landing by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.
He is being represented by International Refugee Assistance Project attorney Mark Doss and is being supported by Democratic Reps. Jerry Nadler and Nydia Velaquez.
Darweesh shared with reporters that despite everything, he was happy to be in America, even explaining how he personally was targeted twice during his time working as an interpreter, engineer and contractor for the U.S. government while in Iraq. According to the report, Darweesh, a husband and father of three, was granted a valid special immigration visa to relocate to America.
"This is the soul of America," he shared, talking about those gathered in solidarity. "This is what pushed me to leave my country and come here."
Upon being released, Darweesh reportedly pumped his fist in the air as the crowds of people protesting the #MuslimBan cheered him on.
"They’re being persecuted," Darweesh's lawyer, Doss, told CNN. "They’re coming to the United States with a valid status. These are individuals who are supposed to be in the United States to be protected because they were persecuted and now they’re being detained unlawfully."
Additionally, Doss pressed that if his client was sent back to his home country, he would be in "serious danger," given his affiliation with the U.S.
According to Nadler, at least 11 more refugees are still being held. More on this story as it develops.
One of the refugees, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, has been released pic.twitter.com/U1XHr4DaTt— Rep. Nydia Velazquez (@NydiaVelazquez) January 28, 2017
(Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)