Travelers were moving through the world’s busiest airport normally as a revised travel ban took effect Thursday evening.
But volunteers were on hand at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to be on the lookout for trouble and to offer free legal help if needed.
With some exceptions, the government will block travelers from six Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – for 90 days, suspend the nation’s refugee resettlement program for 120 days and limit the number of refugees who may be brought here this fiscal year to 50,000. The court said those restrictions cannot be applied to people with a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”
Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Georgia chapter, was among those waiting with a sign offering legal assistance in the arrivals area of the Atlanta airport’s international terminal Thursday evening.
“Our hope is that the administration will obey the Supreme Court’s ruling to the letter. Even though we disagree with the ruling, if it is obeyed we should not see the sort of chaos like we saw five months ago,” he said. With the implementation of the first travel ban on January, some travelers returning from abroad were detained for hours, even green card holders. On Thursday evening, Mitchell said: “Hopefully there won’t be any issues.”
Jeremy Redmon contributed to this report.