Hundreds Rally Against Order Banning Travelers From Muslim-Majority Nations

Jan 29, 2017

Several hundred people rallied in downtown Dayton Sunday to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees and immigrants. Trump’s order Friday enacted a temporary – but immediate – travel ban barring refugees and citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.

The "Stop Ban on Refugees and Visa Travel" rally was held outside 10th District Republican Congressman Mike Turner's office. It was organized by a coalition of individuals and groups that advocate for immigrants. Speakers included immigrants and former refugees, Melissa Bertolo, coordinator of the Welcome Dayton program, and comedian Dave Chappelle.

United States citizen, 35-year-old Kettering attorney Mohamed Al-Hamdani, came to the U.S. with his family as refugees from Iraq in 1992.
Credit Jess Mador

Kettering attorney Mohamed Al-Hamdani, 35, says he came to the U.S. with his family as refugees from Iraq in 1992.

“I’m a U.S. citizen. We have been citizens since 1998 but that doesn’t take away from the fact that we came here as refugees, and if it wasn’t for that program we wouldn’t be here today," he says. "This is America. We are better than this, this is not what we stand for. We don’t stand for fear and hate, we stand for hope.”

The president’s order includes a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, and a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee program. The order took effect as many international flights were already in the air, causing chaos at some airports that receive direct flights from affected countries.

The Dayton International Airport does not handle such direct flights.

President Donald Trump's immigration order is getting pushback in Congress. Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio says "I think we should slow down" and that lawmakers "ought to be part" of the discussions about how best to tighten screening for foreigners who enter the United States.  Portman tells CNN's "State of the Union" that he doesn't think Trump executive action was properly reviewed before he signed it Friday.  Portman is urging everyone "to take a deep breath and come up with something that makes sense for our national security" and reflects the fact that "America's always been a welcoming home for refugees and immigrants."  He says America is "this beacon of hope and opportunity for the rest of the world" and should remain that way.