Several visa and green card holders who had been barred from re-entering the U.S. under President Donald Trump's recent travel ban arrived Friday at Boston's Logan International Airport aboard Lufthansa airline.
The travelers were helped by the efforts of the ACLU of Massachusetts, which won a seven-day injunction from a federal court judge on Monday, allowing them to enter. The ruling applies only to those who have valid U.S. visa and green cards, and are from the seven predominantly-Muslim countries cited in Trump's executive order.
Judges in New York, Washington and Virginia issued similar rulings, but the ACLU of Massachusetts’ victory was deemed the strongest by immigration activists.
Trump's executive orders were still being observed by many airlines. Executives at those airlines feared fines or were still unsure about the court ruling.
German airline Lufthansa was the exception. It posted a notice to its website late this week detailing that "anyone with valid travel documents may board international Lufthansa flights bound for Boston — whether or not their entry into the United States is prohibited by President Trump’s Executive Order on immigration,” according toJustSecurity.org.
Volunteer lawyers started thewebsiteandTwitter account"Open Boston" to urge more airlines to board these stranded immigrants and refugees.
On Friday, ACLU of Massachusetts lawyers were in court, presenting their reasoning to a Boston judge for why the courts should continue blocking Trump’s travel ban.
Meanwhile, about 30 immigration lawyers and supporters of the travelers went to Logan Airport to welcome those helped by the ACLU’s lawsuit.
“We’re here to offer assistance to people, to make sure that people getting on flights, know who they can talk to if they saw someone being barred from boarding," said Jaye Samuels, an attorney with Lawyers for Good Government, and part of Open Boston. Samuels was at Logan on Friday.
Sepideh Sanie, who is not an attorney, also was at Logan Friday afternoon to welcome the travelers.
“I’m just an Iranian coming here to here to support everyone who's worried about their status,” Sanie said.
Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern, a Democrat, was also there, waiting to greet a doctorate student who is from Iran. The student has a visa and is studying at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, but had been in Germany for an internship, and was stuck there after the president's order took effect.
"I want to make sure he's welcomed here and I want him to know I, like millions of others across the country, were appalled by the executive order of Donald Trump,” he said. “I’m also here to make sure there are no glitches. I don't anticipate any, but for a lot of people this has been a very chaotic and tumultuous time.”
Also on Friday, The ACLU filed a lawsuit in federal court inCaliforniaon behalf of three student visa holders. The suit accuses Trump and his administration of violating the free speech, religious freedom and due process rights of those affected by the order, and says it is an attempt to fulfill a campaign promise made by Trump to ban Muslims from entering the United States.
Derek Kouyoumjian andReuters contributed to this report.