[Update below] Protests that began shortly after news reports revealed two Iraqi refugees, Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, were being held at JFK Airport because of Donald Trump's executive order banning immigration from seven majority Muslim countries have continued to grow through the afternoon.

Protest attendee Dan Miller said the crowd grew from about 100 people at shortly before 2 p.m. to 200 people by about 40 minutes later, and our reporter on the scene pegs the number now at around 300 people. Councilman Carlos Menchaca showed up to the protest, as did Nisha Agarwal, head of Mayor de Blasio's Office of Immigrant Affairs.

Menchaca told the gathered crowd that "they came for the Jews, they came for the Christians and they're coming for our Muslim brothers and sisters."

Sharda Mohammed, 19, a student from Queens told us "What's going on is completely wrong. These people have green cards, legally they should be allowed in here. I'm scared for my community, for my family, for everyone in general. I have a lot of Muslim friends and family that are scared... [but] you don't have to know somebody to care."

Alyce Aldige, 31, a public school teacher from Long Island City, said "I am deeply upset at what's happening in my country. I just feel like, with these executive orders, really helpless as a citizen. So it's the least I can do, to show up. Just show up. I have colleagues who have families who are immigrants, friends whose families come from these countries."

Ashraya Gupta, 30, public school teacher from Brooklyn said "It's surprising so many people came out on short notice. I'm expecting it to grow throughout the day, all the way out of JFK, it's good. I feel a sense of solidarity with everyone here... this morning I woke up and looked at the news and it was really heartbreaking, I didn't know what to do. I'm an immigrant myself, from India, and family members have been held before by customs and border protection, but obviously not at this scale."

After he was freed, Darweesh told thanked the assembled crowd for coming out to support him and told the press that "America is the greatest nation in the world."

[Update 5:31 p.m.] Jena Cordova, who was with her son, Takota, 7, and daughter, Stella, 5, said, "We believe this country was founded on immigrants, we need to continue to allow them in." This was not the family's first political action: Cordova added, "I took them to the Women's March in D.C. It was really peaceful... to be part of something that big, it was amazing."

Representative Jerry Nadler, who's still at Terminal 4 with Representative Nydia Velazquez, told Gothamist the pair are still working to get Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi out of Customs and Border Patrol custody. Nadler said that there are 10 other refugees being held that he knows about, but that a Customs and Border Patrol official at the airport told him and Velazquez "that as planes landed from the Middle East, they would be detaining anybody else covered by the executive order who was in transit before the order was issued. She wouldn't even know about them if they were in a different terminal, but she assumed that people were being detained all over the airport, and presumably at other airports. But we don't know those numbers or their names or anything else."

Nadler decried the action as "absurd, unconstitutional religious discriminatio,n and totally useless because all of these refugees have been vetted for two years on an individual basis." Nadler also said that Alshawi's wife worked with the American government in Iraq and ran the risk of murder if she returned to Iraq. "People should know that if you work with Americans if you extend yourself to help American troops in a foreign country and therefore become endangered, the United States will care for you,will take care of you and won't abandon you to your fate."

Nadler questioned why the 7 countries on the immigration restriction list were singled out, noting that no acts of terrorism have been committed on U.S. soil by residents of the any of the countries since 9/11. He also suggested that since Trump hasn't released his tax returns, potential business interests in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey may have kept those countries off the list. "One of the reasons that presidents release their tax returns is that so we know things like that aren't true," Nadler said.

As far as future congressional action in response to the executive order, Nadler said he hadn't spoken to any of his colleagues yet. "As a practical matter, the Republicans control both houses. We will certainly raise a ruckus about this in the House and I presume in the Senate too, but the Republicans control the agenda." However, Nadler did suggest that in the Senate, "if the Democrats wanted to and they had enough unity on this," they could block other legislation and filibuster until Republicans agreed to confront the issue.

Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted a statement against the travel ban, "We are a nation of bridges, not walls."

Cuomo has also announced in a press release that he has "directed the Port Authority, the Department of State, and my Counsel's Office to jointly explore all legal options to assist anyone detained at New York airports, and ensure that their rights are protected."

Councilman Menchaca told Gothamist that the latest he had heard about detained refugees was that people were being detained in Terminals 1, 4 and 7. "We're hearing the folks with visas are just flat out being denied. What we can do now is make our presence alive and well, and shout as loud as we can that this cannot happen."

"There are folks that got on planes 21 hours ago that had no idea this executive order would be executed in this way, there's no thought to them," Menchaca said. "There's someone being held right now who's diabetic, who's getting sick. This is a human issue, this is immoral, this is unconstitutional. We just have to stay here and support each other. It's going to get larger, people keep coming. The families [of the refugees] are so heartened that there are people here that they don't know, who are supporting them and their families."

The New York City Taxi Workers Alliance tweeted that they would undertake a one-hour strike on pickups at JFK, to stand in solidarity with the people protesting the immigration ban.

State Senator Jesse Hamilton was also in attendance at the protest, "to support our brothers and sisters throughout the world who made America their home," he told Gothamist. "What's happening now is un-American, unconstitutional and unimaginable. I just couldn't stay home and watch on television."

[Update 6:21 p.m.] The crowd outside Terminal 4 has grown to over 1,000 people, and witnesses are reporting subway and AirTrain cars packed full of people headed to join the protest:

[Update, 6:57 p.m.] Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi is set to be released from detention, and a federal judge will hold a hearing on issuing an emergency stay on the detention orders at the Brooklyn Federal Court Building at Cadman Plaza.

Additional reporting by Raphael Pope-Sussman