NEW YORK -- Hundreds have descended on John F. Kennedy airport in New York City to protest following the detainment of 12 refugees Saturday under President Trump's recent executive order.
Trump's order bans refugees from certain countries the administration views as terror-prone from entering the United States.
More than 300 demonstrators gathered carrying signs reading "No ban, No wall" and "Refugees welcome" in front of one of an area for international arrivals.
After being detained for nearly 24 hours at the airport, Hameed Khalid Darweesh was released. The 53-year-old worked as an interpreter for the U.S. army in Iraq, and said he was targeted twice for his ties to American armed forces.
"This is the soul of America. This is what pushed me to move, to leave my country and come here. I'm very, very thankful to all the people who come to support me," he said. "America is the land of freedom. The land of the light."
"These are individuals who are supposed to be in the United States to be protected because they were persecuted, and now they're being detained unlawfully," said Darweesh's attorney.
Trump's executive order was put into effect immediately Friday night. Refugees who were on flights on their way to the US when the order was signed were stopped and detained.
The ban is on refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.
"The executive order issued by President Trump is ill-advised. It really undermines the national security," Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-New York, said. "We have here, two of the detainees, who worked for the U.S. government in Iraq. What does that say? What type of message are we sending to our allies around the world?"
"I can't believe that people with visas are not being allowed into the county. I can't believe people with ties to the U.S. military are not being allowed to come into the country," one protester said.
"Refugees are just like everybody else. Average people living their lives who are living in some of the worst humanitarian crises around the world, and they deserve protection, and they deserve to be here," another protester said.
11 more detainees are reportedly still being detained at the airport.
Protests in solidarity have emerged at airports across the country, including San Francisco, Portland, Chicago, and Denver, with many more reportedly planned for Sunday.
This is an ongoing situation. Check back with FOX 4 for more updates.