It took six long hours to free Syrian and Iranian travelers at Orlando International Airport

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PHOTO VIA INSTAGRAM/AGIRLNAMEDCOCO
  • Photo via Instagram/agirlnamedcoco
While President Donald Trump’s executive orders continued wrecking the plans of travelers across the United States on Sunday, Orlando’s response and embrace of the immigrants affected was customarily swift and sunny.

The Trump presidency continues to pile on the burdens, so protests have already become a weekly routine for many Floridians. Over the past weekend, a group called Support Central Florida Muslim Community worked to organize an Airport Rally to Support Central Florida Muslims. Sunday's protesters at Orlando International Airport were probably unaware that several of the loved ones of those being held walked through the protest in witness, a few moved to tears by what they saw.

I work frequently with Orlando immigration attorney Henry Lim, and we arrived at the Sunday protest meeting early, before Lim was called to assist the two Central Florida families inside, one Syrian and one Iranian, just as the protests were forming.

The pairing of an organized protest originating outside of MCO, with a patient waiting session inside between officials and the families of travelers affected, showed what cheerful resistance looks like when faced with terrifying new policies. Once inside, the organized protesters kept near enough to be seen and heard by those affected without disrupting the release of the travelers.

These photos show the effort from inside the airport, as a member of congress and a handful of immigration attorneys kept watch with friends and family members of the three who were held.

11:55 a.m.: Protesters and organizers sign in at tables inside Haven Orlando nightclub on Semoran Boulevard near the Orlando International Airport. - DAVE PLOTKIN
  • Dave Plotkin
  • 11:55 a.m.: Protesters and organizers sign in at tables inside Haven Orlando nightclub on Semoran Boulevard near the Orlando International Airport.
12:45 p.m. Immigration attorney Henry Lim arrives at Orlando International Airport to assist travelers being delayed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. - DAVE PLOTKIN
  • Dave Plotkin
  • 12:45 p.m. Immigration attorney Henry Lim arrives at Orlando International Airport to assist travelers being delayed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.
1:27 p.m.: Immigration attorneys Milena Portillo, Maud Poudat, and Henry Lim research Trump's executive orders and discuss what paperwork would be needed. - DAVE PLOTKIN
  • Dave Plotkin
  • 1:27 p.m.: Immigration attorneys Milena Portillo, Maud Poudat, and Henry Lim research Trump's executive orders and discuss what paperwork would be needed.
1:31 p.m.: Alex Barrio, Rep. Darren Soto, and Henry Lim talk with a friend of one of the travelers. - DAVE PLOTKIN
  • Dave Plotkin
  • 1:31 p.m.: Alex Barrio, Rep. Darren Soto, and Henry Lim talk with a friend of one of the travelers.
1:50 p.m.: Elias Habbabeh, whose Syrian parents were being held for questioning, walks with Rep. Soto through the airport to get water, passing the protest. - DAVE PLOTKIN
  • Dave Plotkin
  • 1:50 p.m.: Elias Habbabeh, whose Syrian parents were being held for questioning, walks with Rep. Soto through the airport to get water, passing the protest.
1:51 p.m.: Elias Habbabeh hears the protest and runs off to watch more closely. - DAVE PLOTKIN
  • Dave Plotkin
  • 1:51 p.m.: Elias Habbabeh hears the protest and runs off to watch more closely.
1:52 p.m.: The protest inside the airport's food court is about 200 feet away from where families and friends of the travelers affected are waiting. Many come over to watch up close. - DAVE PLOTKIN
  • Dave Plotkin
  • 1:52 p.m.: The protest inside the airport's food court is about 200 feet away from where families and friends of the travelers affected are waiting. Many come over to watch up close.
1:55 p.m.: Rep. Soto speaks to television news crews, sharing information about the travelers from airport and federal officials. - DAVE PLOTKIN
  • Dave Plotkin
  • 1:55 p.m.: Rep. Soto speaks to television news crews, sharing information about the travelers from airport and federal officials.
1:57 p.m.: Friends of Negin Alimohammadi check texts and social media for updates. - DAVE PLOTKIN
  • Dave Plotkin
  • 1:57 p.m.: Friends of Negin Alimohammadi check texts and social media for updates.
2:01 p.m.: Elias Habbabeh, whose Syrian parents were being held for questioning by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, tells WFTV that he supported the election of Donald Trump. - DAVE PLOTKIN
  • Dave Plotkin
  • 2:01 p.m.: Elias Habbabeh, whose Syrian parents were being held for questioning by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, tells WFTV that he supported the election of Donald Trump.
2:37 p.m.: Rep. Soto gives updates to news media, in front of immigration attorneys Henry Lim, Maud Poudat, Juan de la Torre, Milena Portillo and district director Alex Barrio. - DAVE PLOTKIN
  • Dave Plotkin
  • 2:37 p.m.: Rep. Soto gives updates to news media, in front of immigration attorneys Henry Lim, Maud Poudat, Juan de la Torre, Milena Portillo and district director Alex Barrio.
2:46: Reports of 20-hour waits and other travel delays happening elsewhere were shared and read in the airport hallway, while attorneys plugged laptops into wall outlets to research the orders. - DAVE PLOTKIN
  • Dave Plotkin
  • 2:46: Reports of 20-hour waits and other travel delays happening elsewhere were shared and read in the airport hallway, while attorneys plugged laptops into wall outlets to research the orders.
3:11 p.m.: Immigration attorneys Milena Portillo, Maud Poudat, Henry Lim and Nayef A. Mubarak - DAVE PLOTKIN
  • Dave Plotkin
  • 3:11 p.m.: Immigration attorneys Milena Portillo, Maud Poudat, Henry Lim and Nayef A. Mubarak
3:15 p.m.: Rep. Soto delivers hopeful news to the friends and family members waiting. - DAVE PLOTKIN
  • Dave Plotkin
  • 3:15 p.m.: Rep. Soto delivers hopeful news to the friends and family members waiting.
4:56 p.m.: Elias Habbabeh's parents, Syrians Abdulrazzak Habbabeh - and Mary Safar, are finally released. - DAVE PLOTKIN
  • Dave Plotkin
  • 4:56 p.m.: Elias Habbabeh's parents, Syrians Abdulrazzak Habbabehand Mary Safar, are finally released.
4:58 p.m.: Elias Habbabeh is interviewed for television with his parents, Syrians Abdulrazzak Habbabeh and Mary Safar. - DAVE PLOTKIN
  • Dave Plotkin
  • 4:58 p.m.: Elias Habbabeh is interviewed for television with his parents, Syrians Abdulrazzak Habbabeh and Mary Safar.
5:01 p.m.: Negin Alimohammadi, a 29-year-old Oviedo resident, was the last of the three released. - DAVE PLOTKIN
  • Dave Plotkin
  • 5:01 p.m.: Negin Alimohammadi, a 29-year-old Oviedo resident, was the last of the three released.
5:04 p.m.: Negin Alimohammadi thanks Rep. Darren Soto for his advocacy during her additional questioning. - DAVE PLOTKIN
  • Dave Plotkin
  • 5:04 p.m.: Negin Alimohammadi thanks Rep. Darren Soto for his advocacy during her additional questioning.
5:09 p.m.: Negin Alimohammadi speaks to WFTV about her ordeal. - DAVE PLOTKIN
  • Dave Plotkin
  • 5:09 p.m.: Negin Alimohammadi speaks to WFTV about her ordeal.


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