NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - Protestors at airports across the country expressed their outrage over President Donald J. Trump's controversial extreme vetting Executive Order that he said would help keep radical extremists out of the United States.
The countries from which travel is restricted for 90-days are Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia.
At Kennedy Airport over the weekend, protesters chanted "let them in" after at least a dozen people were detained.
At San Francisco and Los Angeles airports, thousands of people, some carrying signs, demonstrated Sunday, some even staged a sit-in at the main exit for arrivals.
Trump and members of his administration defended the action Monday, saying only 109 people out of 325,000 were held. Trump took to Twitter to blame crowds and chaos at the airports on a computer glitch by Delta Airlines.
Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage,.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 30, 2017
protesters and the tears of Senator Schumer. Secretary Kelly said that all is going well with very few problems. MAKE AMERICA SAFE AGAIN!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 30, 2017
There is nothing nice about searching for terrorists before they can enter our country. This was a big part of my campaign. Study the world!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 30, 2017
"Mr. President, what you have done is un-American. It is creating confusion,” said Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez
"They are being unlawfully detained under very unclear authority,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler.
One of the detained was Hameed Darweesh, an Iraqi translator who helped the United States government. Darweesh was detained Friday night when he arrived at JFK with a valid special immigrant visa. He was released Saturday afternoon.
"When I came here, they said no. They treated me as I broke the rules. I was really surprised,” said Darweesh.
Darweesh flew in with his wife and three children who were allowed into the country. He said he didn't sleep all night and didn't know why he was detained.
"We know another is an Iraqi refugee his detained his wife. His wife has a green card. He landed last night, and they would not allow him to leave," said Beck Heller, director of the International Refugee Assistance Project.
GOP Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Tim Scott of South Carolina say in a joint statement that "the manner in which these measures were crafted and implemented have greatly contributed to the confusion, anxiety and uncertainty of the last few days."
Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania says that while he supports increased vetting, "Unfortunately, the initial executive order was flawed -- it was too broad and poorly explained."
And Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas says that he supports thorough vetting, but does not support restricting the rights of lawful permanent residents. Moran adds, "Furthermore, far-reaching national security policy should always be devised in consultation with Congress and relevant government agencies."
With the Associated Press