The ACLU Says It Collected More Than $24M in Donations This Weekend

PHOTO: From left, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, and Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez celebrate Darweeshs release from immigration at the JFK airport, Jan. 28, 2017, in New York.PlaySolar/ACE Pictures/Newscom
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The American Civil Liberties Union said it received donations from more than 350,000 people online, amounting to more than $24 million, last weekend, as it filed a case against Donald Trump's executive order barring people from seven countries from entering the U.S.

"We are in uncharted territory in terms of the levels of support," said Steve Smith, the associate director of communications for the ACLU. He said the organization's site was down for a couple of minutes on Saturday afternoon because of the heavy traffic.

The donations came in response to the ACLU's action in a federal court in Brooklyn on Saturday, resulting in an emergency stay of a deportation order for two Iraqi men who had valid visas to enter the United States but were detained at JFK Airport in New York City when they arrived.

Trump's order calls for a 90-day suspension of immigration from countries he said have ties to terrorism — Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and Libya — and an indefinite halt to accepting refugees from Syria.

The nonpartisan ACLU said it generally averages about $4 million in donations per year and represents its clients pro bono, relying on donations to fund its activities.

Celebrities and representatives of some companies like Facebook took to social media saying they would match large amounts if others donated.

The ACLU, which says it has a seven-point plan to hold Trump accountable for upholding civil rights as he puts his plans into action, believes the final ruling in the lawsuit on behalf of the two Iraqi men will serve as a precedent for all the other individuals detained under the order.