SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - The number of protesters increased on Sunday at the San Francisco International Airport, temporarily shutting down gates in the International Terminal, because of the sheer number of people.
Immigration attorneys said they knew of five people who were detained and released on Sunday, but they were unsure if more people were being held under President Donald Trump's executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for the next 120 days.
The protests at SFO started Saturday afternoon and continued until 2 am. On Sunday, The Arab
Resource & Organizing Center (AROC) organized Sunday's protest, but said it told protesters to go home in the afternoon after the last known release from U.S. Customs & Border Protection.
"We as organizers have called it. We said go home, get rest, there are a lot more days to fight, but people are really juiced. They are excited to resist this administration," said AROC member Spenta Kandawalla.
Kandawalla estimated the protest grew over the whole weekend to 10,000 people. Protesters remained at the airport into late Sunday night.
U.S. Customs & Border Protection have not returned calls and emails. Immigration attorneys said CBP was not allowing attorneys into secondary inspection to talk with their clients.
"There are people who are detained in secondary inspection all the time, even before this executive order," said immigration attorney Rosy Cho.
"They are interviewed, maybe asked if they want to withdraw their request for admission, willing to give up their resident status...there's always a number of issues why someone gets into secondary inspection. What's unusual about this order is it is separating people by nationality."
Former three-term chairman of the San Francisco Republican Party and member of the Rossmoor Republican Club, Mike DeNunzio, said he supports the executive order, but not how President Trump handled it.
"It's not so much what you say or do, it's how you say and do it," said DeNunzio, who wanted to see the president address the executive order in a speech before it was in effect.
DeNunzio said President Trump didn't choose the seven countries to ban out of thin air. The president got the list from from President Obama's Visa Waiver Program. The seven countries are marked as "countries of concern" and the program requires a person from one of those countries to obtain a visa before coming to the U.S.
"Even the previous administration recognized through our military leaders that it's virtually impossible to properly vette and adequately vette these people, some of them are as honest as you or I, but because of the impossibility of vetting them, they had to do it this way," said DeNunzio.
The AROC is familiar with President Obama's list, which includes more countries.
"It was definitely a registry from people from countries of different origins, who had to go in and register with the government," said Kandawalla.
"It was a way to track, detain, and deport. So is it new? It's definitely not new. Is it still an assault to our communities? It's a huge assault to our communities."
Congressional and state Democrats showed up at SFO and met with protesters and attorneys, but received little information from CBP. DeNunzio said he'd like to hear from more Congressional Republicans on the executive orders.
"There should always be more vocal GOP members, but they shouldn't be showing up at airports, because that always causes more of a consternation," said DeNunzio.
There are currently no planned protests at SFO during the week.