PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – Dozens of people are expected to turn out Sunday for a demonstration President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees from seven predominantly Muslim nations from entering the U.S., News 6 partner Florida Today reported.
The protest will take place 5 p.m. at Exploration Tower in Port Canaveral – where a number of immigrants work with the passenger cruise industry -- and will focus on the executive order on immigration signed by Trump on Friday, Florida Today said.
The protest in Brevard was one of several across the nation, from Boston, to airports in Washington and Dallas.
The president's order drew condemnation after it brought to an abrupt halt to the nation’s free-flow of immigrants traveling from Syria, Iran, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Iraq for 90 days. All resettlement efforts from the same nations are on hold for 120 days.
In Brevard, a number of protesters quickly organized the march at Port Canaveral, home to one of the world's largest passenger ships and a cruise ship industry that relies heavily on immigrant workers.
“It seems our democracy is eroding,” said Cynthia Elkins, of Palm Bay. Elkins said she had never protested in her life before the president's election but felt she needed to do something as Trump began to target immigrants as part of his effort to bolster what he sees as national security.
“We’re just so outraged. We’re all immigrants to this country. We felt we have to do something," Elkins said.
Initially, the executive order also appeared to ban green card holders traveling to the U.S. from the affected nations. But Sunday afternoon, Trump administration officials attempted to clarify the stance, even as the issued was bandied about in federal court. For Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, D.C., the confusion pointed to a process that seemed hasty.
“I don’t think this was vetted at all, it looks like the whole thing was born from the mind of Steven Bannon,” Hooper said, referring to one of Trump’s controversial senior advisers. “It looks like they are walking back the whole notion of excluding green card holders from entry into the U.S.”
Hooper said that it also appeared that the order has lit a fire of protest across the nation as people began realizing its impact on friends and neighbors along with the world view of the U.S. “It’s just spontaneous. This is all within 24 hours. We’re seeing a groundswell of support out there,” Hooper said.
Across Central Florida at the Orlando International Airport, hundreds rallied with signs and chants in protest of Trump’s executive order. About 500 people – including a number of Muslims - were gathered at the airport, Orlando Police said.
“Thank you or standing with the Muslim community, and all immigrants here in the US and abroad. Trump's policies stand juxtaposed to our values — this is not who we are. The United States and Orlando stands with our immigrants,” organizers wrote on a Facebook events page noting the rally.
Several federal judges have moved to temporarily block the executive order as court hearings on the matter are sought.