Five People Ejected From Anaheim City Council Meeting in Fracas Over Trump’s “Muslim Ban”

A member of "We the People Rising" holds a sign, while police officers watch members of the audience closely.

At least five men and women were ejected from a rowdy Anaheim City Council meeting Tuesday for interrupting the public comments of people on both sides of a proposed resolution opposing President Donald J. Trump’s executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations.

Four members of the group We the People Rising, an anti-illegal immigration group, who are also supporters of Trump, were ejected for disruptive commentary during public comments. A fifth person, Jeanine Robbins, was ejected for throwing a crumpled speaker card at a member of We the People Rising.

Although the resolution, proposed by Councilman Jose Moreno, was tabled at the start of the meeting, dozens of people gave impassioned speeches for and against it — with many of their comments accompanied by side commentary and shouting from the audience.

The fracas blew up toward the end of public comments, after a man, who only gave his first name, Cyrus, finished his comments defending the ban.

“You can call this indigenous land but that doesn’t mean you have to flood the country with one hundred million of these third world immigrants and we have to subsidize their lifestyle,” Cyrus said, prompting a man from the audience to shout, “Shut up!”

“Escort this man out, he interrupted me!” demanded Cyrus, who had interrupted several previous speakers.

“Hell, you interrupted me,” argued another man in the audience.

Tait quieted the audience and Cyrus finished speaking.

Robbins then tossed a crumpled speaker card at him, prompting outrage from members of We the People Rising, who demanded Robbins be thrown out. When they continued shouting, Tait ordered city police to escort four people out of the chambers.

“Grow up, everybody,” Tait said. “Sit down if you want to stay here sit down. And everybody, shut up except for the speaker.”

Mayor Tom Tait listening as public speakers interrupted each other.

All five people left peacefully but members of We the People Rising spent several minutes loudly questioning police officers outside of the council meeting about why they were ejected.  The group posted a video of their ejection on YouTube. 

Moreno’s resolution would oppose Trump’s Executive Order 13769, which barred entry of travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries (Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Somalia) for a period of 90 days, and suspended the Syrian refugee program indefinitely.

A federal judge in Hawaii has since halted the travel ban order and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is set next Month to hear the Trump administration’s appeal.

Moreno tabled the resolution, which was sponsored by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), so that the language could be “strengthened.”

Mirvette Judeh, who wears a hijab, told the city council Trump’s executive order has affected her daily life.

“When an executive order begins to affect the normal lives of constituents in your city…when someone like me can walk into a place like Costco or Nordstrom and [people] tell me to go back home and call me a terrorist,” Judeh said. “It affects anybody who looks Arab and Muslim, even though the majority of Arabs in America happen to not be Muslim.”

Councilwoman Lucille Kring has also called for a vote, which has yet to be scheduled, on whether the city council supports sanctuary city status.

Kring said she opposes making Anaheim a sanctuary city, although she has not defined the term, which can refer broadly to cities with rules like prohibiting staff from inquiring about a person’s legal status or whose  police departments refuse to hold undocumented immigrants on behalf of federal authorities.

People on both sides, however, rebuked the council for wading into federal issues.

“Has anyone met on security issues with Attorney General Sessions? With the Secretary of Defense? …With the director of the CIA?” asked Janet West, a member of We the People Rising who was ejected from the meeting. “So why do you think you should be voting on a national security issue?”

On the other end of the spectrum, Victoria Michaels, an ardent Moreno supporter, said council meetings have gotten out of hand each time the council has weighed into a federal political issue.

“We should concentrate on city of Anaheim matters and not on federal issues,” Michaels said.

Contact Thy Vo at tvo@voiceofoc.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.