Six people have been released from JFK Airport on Sunday, according to officials, after they were detained since Saturday due to President Trump's executive order banning entry to the U.S. by residents of seven Muslim-majority countries.
Around 1 p.m. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York said he learned from officials that four people have been released in the past hour.
One was a permanent resident of the United States, according to Jeffries, and the other three were travelling to the U.S.
About three hours later, Jeffries said two more people were released.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said before 4 p.m. that 17 people are still being detained JFK airport because of the ban, but that report conflicts with what other officials have said.
The executive director of the Port Authority, Pat Foye, said the federal government has put a chokehold on providing that kind of information.
Protests resumed for the second-straight night at JFK Airport, with 40 to 50 people, as of 4 p.m., calling for the detainees to be released.
One of those released from JFK on Sunday was a woman travelling from Tehran, who had been held at the airport for more than 20 hours.
"This is not good for any people," she said.
A federal judge in Brooklyn had issued a stay on the executive order Saturday, preventing deportations of those people if they have valid visas.
That judge's ruling, however, does not prevent people from still being detained.
"The Department of Homeland Security will continue to enforce all of the president's Executive Orders in a manner that ensures the safety and security of the American people," Homeland Security officials said in a statement early Sunday morning. "The president’s Executive Order affects a minor portion of international travelers, and is a first step towards reestablishing control over America's borders and national security."
Alina Das, an attorney and NYU law professor, said that is making it a bit complicated for the people detained at JFK Airport.
"The stay prevents the government from removing people who have valid status, but at the same time we're hearing reports might still be deported in violation of the stay, so there's a lot of concern that the law isn't being followed, and that's simply un-American," Das told NY1's Shannan Ferry on Sunday.
At least a dozen international travelers were detained upon their arrival in New York on Saturday, following the order signed by Trump on Friday banning citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen from entering the U.S. for the next 90 days.
Trump said Christian refugees will be given priority over Muslims.
People from the countries with permanent residencies and other visas are also at risk of not being allowed in the country.
The White House said Sunday that green card holders will not be affected moving forward.
The seven nations are among the ones established in a 2016 law as "countries of concern." Saudi Arabia and Lebanon are among the Middle Eastern countries not named in the law established last year.
Sunday morning, NY1 saw one man who was detained at JFK Airport being released. He said he was coming from Iran and that he's been in the United States for nine years.
He said he was stuck at the airport for about a full day, and that he has proper documentation. He said he has advanced parole and is working to get a green card.
"I'm so disappointed. I'm really considering not living in the United States anymore," the man said. "I was thinking, 'America is great.' Now it's not great at all."
NY1 spoke with the lead attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which fought the case in court, and some people celebrating the victory.
"We filed this case to say we believe that the executive order is unlawful, and it can't be applied to these individuals, and they have to be allowed to come in," immigration rights attorney Lee Gelernt told NY1's Grace Rauh on Saturday.
"And what we did tonight is ask the judge not to resolve the whole case but to issue a nationwide injunction, preventing the government from removing anybody until she could resolve the case," Gelernt said.
"It's very, very unfair that we have a president who is expressing non-Democratic ideals," one protester said Saturday night. "I thought it was important to make sure that our voice — our collective voice — was heard."
"We need racists out, and we need the immigrants to come in," said another protester. "This country was built on immigrants."
The ACLU says it expects the case to return to court sometime next month, and that it is working on releasing the detainees.
Calling the order "unlawful," the ACLU challenged the order in a petition filed in a New York federal court on Saturday on behalf of two Iraqis detained at JFK.
Social media posts showed a crowd of protesters at Brooklyn's Cadman Plaza cheering when news of the stay was announced.
The stay, which covers the entire country, awaits further legal review.
Reports say there were at least a hundred detainees at airports across the United States as of Saturday night.
Trump's executive order also bans U.S. entry of those fleeing war-torn Syria indefinitely, and bans the admission of all refugees for the next four months. In signing the order, Trump pledged to "keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America."
Earlier in the day, President Trump said the roll out of his travel ban is going well.
"It's not a Muslim ban, we were totally prepared. It's working out very nicely. You see it at the airports, you see it all over. It's working out very nicely," Trump said. "And, we're going to have a strict ban, and we're going to have extreme vetting, which we should've had in this country for many years."
Trump responded to some of the criticism of his executive order on Twitter:
Our country needs strong borders and extreme vetting, NOW. Look what is happening all over Europe and, indeed, the world - a horrible mess!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2017
Hundreds of people rallied at JFK Airport on Saturday night for the release of the people detained.
They were joined by protesters at numerous other international airports across the country.
Some New York City taxi drivers participated by refusing to pick up passengers at JFK.
One person who was detained at JFK Airport on Saturday before he was released was Hameed Jhalid Darweesh, an Iraqi citizen with a visa who was in Iraq helping U.S. government employees with translation services.
"I have a special immigration visa in my passport, me and my family, because I work with the U.S. government," said Darweesh. "I support the U.S. government from the other side of the world. But when I came here they said nope. They take me as I break the rules or do something wrong. I'm surprised."
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and Congressman Jerry Nadler, both Democrats, were able to meet with U.S. Customs officials and get him released.
"How many times do we have to come here to bring justice to an individual who provided assistance to the U.S. government," said Rep. Velazquez. "And that is the main argument against this mean-spirited, ill-conceived, ill-advised executive order."
In a joint statement, Velazquez and Nadler said they were demanding the release of the other refugees.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and de Blasio also denounced Trump's order:
America is a nation of laws and those laws provide rights that must be respected and followed regardless of political ideology. pic.twitter.com/cY26tnyg3T— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) January 28, 2017
The stay blocking the president's shameful executive order tonight is a victory for American values, but our fight is just beginning.— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) January 29, 2017
Cuomo said he is exploring legal options for helping the people being held at New York's airports.
Several world leaders have also denounced Trump's travel ban.
A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she believes his executive order is morally wrong and not necessary to fight terrorism.
Merkel spoke to Trump for first time by phone Saturday.
British Prime Minister Theresa May, who met with Trump at the White House on Friday, also criticized his decision.
Her spokesman said May does not agree with the ban and plans on challenging the U.S. if it has an adverse effect on British nationals.
And Trump's former campaign rival showed support for last night's protestors:
I stand with the people gathered across the country tonight defending our values & our Constitution. This is not who we are.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) January 29, 2017