All Weekend Detainees Have Reportedly Been Released At LAX, More Expected
After two days of protest and chaos, all detainees at Los Angeles International Airport have reportedly been released. The announcement was made by Meeth Soni, directing attorney at Immigrant Defenders Law Center, just before midnight on Sunday night. Soni also noted that these were only the detainees that the volunteer lawyers had been alerted of, and that it was still possible that others who the lawyers didn't know about remained detained. Customs and Border Protection still has not provided any official information about detainees, so the numbers are impossible to confirm.
Soni was one of dozens of volunteer lawyers and translators who have worked around the clock at LAX over the past two days, assisting families of detainees in the wake of President Trump's travel restrictions. Soni's announcement, delivered via megaphone to the hundred or so remaining protesters at the Tom Bradley International Terminal, was met with raucous cheering and applause.
"We can call it a night and go home," Soni told the crowd. "This was amazing. Families have been reunited." Soni said that the volunteer lawyers will be back tomorrow at 6:30 a.m. because they anticipate more detentions will be happening "for at least a few more days."
City Councilmember Jose Huizar spoke after Soni, and profusely thanked the protesters for their presence tonight.
"Please continue, go out there, we cannot normalize this," Huizar said. "You guys are the forefront. We cannot lay back and do nothing. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being out here."
Approximately seven thousand protesters rallied at LAX on Sunday. Demonstrators blocked the road outside the international terminal for several hours, but the protests were overwhelming peaceful. Sgt. Gabaldon of LAPD's Pacific Division told LAist that two protesters were arrested, both reportedly for failure to disperse. Gabaldon said that both were cited and released.
This post was updated on Monday morning to include additional quotes from Soni about the possibility that others whom the lawyers are unfamiliar with might still be detained..