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Lawyers Say At Least 17 People Are Still Detained At LAX, Protests Continue

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The scene at LAX on Sunday night outside of Tom Bradley International Terminal. (Photo by Julia Wick/LAist)
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Thousands protested at Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday following President Trump's executive orders on immigration. Although numerous detainees have been released, at least 17 individuals remain detained at LAX, despite the emergency stay issued on Saturday night by a federal judge in New York.

A Mexican restaurant adjacent to baggage claim at the Tom Bradley International Terminal has been transformed into an impromptu legal command center, with a small army of volunteer lawyers doing what they can to assist families of the detained. Working without any official information, the dozens of volunteers have spent the past two days stationed on the arrivals level of the international terminal holding signs in English, Farsi and Arabic.

"The only way we've figured out who's being detained is if we're walking around with our name tags that say 'lawyer' and people come up to us to ask for help," one lawyer who was volunteering told LAist on Saturday night.

"Based on interviews with family and friends of the detained, we know of at least 17 people [who are currently being detained]," Michael Hagerty, an immigration lawyer acting as a volunteer media liaison, told LAist just after 7 p.m. on Sunday night. Hagerty said that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) was still not providing the lawyers with any official information. "Presumably, new flights are coming in as regularly scheduled and there could be new people on any of these flights [who are being detained]," Hagerty said.

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Hagerty said that at least ten detainees have been released at Tom Bradley, and there may have been more released who didn't check in with the lawyers. According to Hagerty, at least 12 people in Terminal 2 have also been released. The majority of the people being held at Terminal 2 were reportedly legal permanent residents, and released detainees told lawyers that they were only interviewed for about ten minutes each before being held for several more hours.

Linda Lopez, chief of Los Angeles' Office of Immigrant Affairs, told LAist that the mayor's office was continuing to monitor the situation and that Mayor Eric Garcetti had spoken further with customs since his press conference this morning where he said that CBP was complying with the emergency stay. Others familiar with the detainee situation have told LAist that CBP is only in "partial compliance" with the stay; although customs is releasing some people, they are still submitting new arrivals to so-called "extreme vetting."

Los Angeles Airport Police Chief Patrick Gannon told LAist on Sunday evening that customs still hadn't provided his department with any information. "All of the information is being disseminated through Washington D.C.," Gannon said.

As of 7 p.m. Sunday, the crowd of protesters was substantially smaller than it had been earlier in the day, but protesters continued to block the road outside of Tom Bradley. The protesters, who are currently facing off with a line of police in riot gear, have pledged not to leave until all of the detainees have been released.

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