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New York Taxi Workers Alliance Halting JFK Airport Pickups To Protest Immigration Ban

Photo via AP Images
Photo via AP Images

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance has announced on Twitter that it is halting passenger pickups at JFK airport in protest of the dozens of people detained under President Trump’s Muslim immigration ban.

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The Alliance announced that it would be halting pickups at JFK from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. to protest reports of at least a dozen people who have been detained in the airport due to the immigration ban executive order signed by President Trump yesterday. One green card holder was released from detainment earlier today.

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The immigration ban prevents people born in predominantly Muslim Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S., despite many who have been previously vetted, hold green cards with permanent U.S. residence, or even UK politicians. The ban also suspends the Syrian refugee program indefinitely, and prioritizes minority religions, like Christianity, in the seven named countries for entry into the U.S.

The NYTWA also released a statement earlier today:

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The Department of Justice reports that it was unaware of who in the White House was responsible for writing the immigration ban, which the President forced into action overnight with the executive order.

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Two Iraqi men detained at JFK who were granted visas and have working connections with the US military have filed a lawsuit against the President and the US Government, and have also filed to expand and cover all other detained immigrants and travelers.

Meanwhile, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance work stoppage joins a growing protest against the immigration ban outside of JFK airport.

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UPDATE [9:17 p.m. ET]: A federal judge has granted those with valid U.S. visas an emergency stay, per Reuters:

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Additionally, actions have been taken to protest the ban at a long list of airports across the United States:

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UPDATE 9:51 PM: Uber attempted to break the strike:

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik

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DISCUSSION

Somewhat unamusingly, an edict came down from our airline management via email about this. They were going to start holding the flight crews accountable for anyone who got on board who was turned away from the USA (it costs the airline an enormous amount of money when this happens.)

The pilot’s union essentially told them to ‘fuck off and grow a pair’ and their statement to the company pointed out that it is not the job of airline crew to enforce US immigration policy. I think the new policy lasted about an hour before it was rescinded.

Because there is now a huge amount of uncertainty and unpredictability around who may be detained or returned to their country of origin, airlines are not really sure what to do. We don’t generally carry any passengers whose nationalities fall under the new US President’s ‘I don’t do business there so it’s ok to ban them’ rule, but we do carry a huge number of Muslims and people who wear head-scarfs/sport exceptionally large and striking Muslim beards (not at the same time usually...)

This is a clusterfuck of epic proportions and I have a suspicion we are going to see our US routes, especially into the South, shrink dramatically whilst this is ongoing or there is any uncertainty over the policy.

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On a personal note, I was disappointed to see Theresa May, our unelected Prime Minister refuse to condemn this policy, rather offering a mealy-mouthed ‘it’s for Americans to decide American policy...’ kind of statement.

Well, yes it is, but everyone else is still allowed to have an opinion on it. Problem is, we can’t alienate the USA at the same time we’re removing ourselves from Europe so I think we can enjoy more of this tacit support from the British govt. for anything Trump does for the forseeable future. It doesn’t mean the British people support it though....