A family of three was held for 20 hours without food at Dulles Airport in Chantilly, Va., as a result of President Donald Trump‘s immigration ban this weekend.
Najib Abi, a cousin of the three victims, told ABC News that his relatives were detained at Dulles after arriving at the airport around 8 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 28. Immigration authorities held the mother and her two children after finding out that the mother was from Somalia, a country on Trump’s immigration ban list. Her two Kenyan-born children, however, were in the clear because they had U.S. passports.
“They called the husband, he’s from Minnesota,” Abi explains. “They told him that you have to get your children because they’re U.S. citizens, but your wife, we will deport to Africa. We’ll send her back to Africa today at 10 a.m. So if you don’t come by 10 a.m. we’ll deport her.”
Immigration officers told the woman that her visa was canceled while they reportedly pressured her to sign papers. The woman insisted that her husband be present before she signed any forms, but they continued to pressure her. Abi said that officers threatened to deport the woman without her children. They told her that if she did not sign her children’s papers, she would not be allowed in the U.S. At this point, the immigration officers became aggressive.
“They handcuffed her, even when she went to the bathroom,” Abi says. “They called her husband’s phone number, saying that we have your family here at the airport. You come and get your kids, otherwise, all of them [will go] back to Africa.”
U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly issued a national temporary stay decision, guaranteeing that U.S. visa holders can’t be sent back.
The mother and her children were freed and they booked a flight Sunday to Minnesota.