People in cities across Montana held rallies last week pushing back against President Trump’s executive order halting immigration from seven predominantly Muslim nations. More than a hundred people cheered pro-immigration slogans in a Missoula park on Friday before marching to Republican Senator Steve Daines’ local office to drop off letters asking him to hold a town hall discussion here.
Eamon Ormseth helped Standing Along Side American Muslims and Missoula Rises organize the Missoula event, with sister rallies in Helena, Bozeman and Billings throughout the week.
"Right now, Daines is backing an unjust policy, and we want him to tell us why," says Ormseth.
Senator Daines released a statement last week in support of the executive order, citing American security concerns. President Trump’s immigration order also bans refugee resettlement in the U.S. for 120 days, and bars Syrian refugee resettlement indefinitely. Missoula city council member and protester Marilyn Marler said refugee policy hits close to home.
"It’s an issue that’s very real and tangible to people in Missoula now because we have been working for over a year to resettle refugees here," says Marler.
The non-profit International Rescue Committee has resettled 16 refugee families in Missoula since August, including families from Syria and Iraq, two countries listed under the travel ban. Montana’s Democrat Senator, Jon Tester, came out against the travel ban in a statement last week calling it harmful. But some protesters said they wanted more vocal opposition from him.
A U.S. judge temporarily blocked President Trump's ban Friday.