Immigrants and advocates gathered in Seattle to pray Wednesday, the day a new travel ban was set to kick in. Just hours before, court rulings in two states put the Trump administration’s policy on hold.
But with the controversy sure to continue, the crowd joined in a prayer for the days ahead.
Outside Seattle’s federal courthouse, a young man who works at Amazon gave the call to prayer. The iman who was scheduled to lead it had been called away.
The crowd formed a circle, holding hands. Religious leaders from different faiths prayed on the sidelines as about 20 Muslims knelt down together, heads bowed.
Among them were sisters Shayma and Hafsa Khan, ages 13 and 11.
"We want to fight for our rights because lately there’s been a lot going on against us," Shayma Khan said.
"Yeah, I mean, we need to like, put ourselves out there to show that we’re important in this world, too," Hafsa Khan said.
The Trump administration’s latest travel ban, version 3.0, restricts travel to the U.S. from a group of mostly Muslim countries.
As with previous versions of the ban, this one is now also stalled in legal proceedings.
White House officials say the restricted countries currently do not meet security standards, and that the ban is an important tool for fighting terrorism.
Seattle resident Ethan Davenport is skeptical of the government's approach. His fiancée is from Iran, one of the countries targeted by the ban, and she’s waiting on clearance to travel here.
"She’s not a security risk at all," Davenport said. "Quite the opposite. She herself is afraid of terrorists."
For now, the couple will watch the court process, counting the days. And the nights.
"Many sleepless nights," Davenport said.
Washington state is also seeking a separate court order to block the travel ban from taking effect. A hearing is scheduled with U.S. District Court Judge James Robart on October 30.