Out­cry over US air­port de­ten­tions

Trump’s or­der ‘un-Amer­i­can’

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

TWO judges tem­po­rar­ily blocked Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion from en­forc­ing parts of his or­der to halt im­mi­gra­tion from seven Mid­dle East­ern coun­tries, af­ter a day in which stu­dents, refugees and dual cit­i­zens were stuck over­seas, or de­tained, and some busi­nesses warned em­ploy­ees from those coun­tries not to risk leav­ing the US.

A na­tion­wide rul­ing in Brook­lyn, New York, bar­ring refugees and visa hold­ers al­ready legally in the US from be­ing turned back, came hours af­ter the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union (ACLU) and other groups sued to halt the Jan­uary 27 or­der.

A sep­a­rate or­der in Alexan­dria, Vir­ginia, for­bid the gov­ern­ment from re­mov­ing about 60 le­gal per­ma­nent res­i­dents of the US who were be­ing de­tained at Dulles In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

Nei­ther rul­ing strikes down the ex­ec­u­tive or­der, which will now be sub­ject to court hear­ings.

The Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity, which runs the Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion agency, said yesterday it would com­ply with ju­di­cial or­ders, but that the gov­ern­ment re­tained the right to re­voke visas for rea­sons of na­tional or pub­lic safety.

There were wrench­ing scenes – and angry protests – at ma­jor air­ports across the coun­try be­fore the court or­ders were is­sued. At LA In­ter­na­tional Air­port, a lawyer re­ported that an 80-year-old in­sulin-de­pen­dent vis­i­tor was be­ing held by of­fi­cials and had no con­tact with her wor­ried fam­ily.

Shane Moss, a 38-year-old from Mis­souri, was re­turn­ing from Thai­land with his girl­friend, a di­eti­tian and joint Cana­dian-Ira­nian cit­i­zen with a valid work visa, when they were forced to sep­a­rate. Hours later, he had not heard from her.

“They won’t tell me any­thing,” Moss said. “I’m worn out.”

At New York’s JFK Air­port, thou­sands protested out­side the in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals ter­mi­nal chant­ing, “Let them in!” and “No hate! No fear! Im­mi­grants are wel­come here!”

Some busi­ness ex­ec­u­tives, es­pe­cially in the tech­nol­ogy sec­tor, also ex­pressed out­rage.

Net­flix Inc chief ex­ec­u­tive Reed Hast­ings posted on Face­book: “Trump’s ac­tions are hurt­ing Net­flix em­ploy­ees around the world, and are so un-Amer­i­can. Worse, these ac­tions will make Amer­ica less safe (through ha­tred and loss of al­lies) rather than more safe.”

The ex­ec­u­tive or­der, is­sued on Fri­day, bars cit­i­zens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, So­ma­lia, Su­dan, Syria and Ye­men, from en­ter­ing the US for the next three months in an ef­fort to stop ter­ror­ists and gain hold of the im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem.

The or­der also halts refugee re­set­tle­ment to the US for 120 days, and or­ders that refugee ad­mis­sions for this year be cut down to 50 000 from the planned limit of 110 000.

Trump and his aides said those who op­posed the or­der were over­re­act­ing and mis­in­ter­pret­ing. “It’s not a Mus­lim ban,” the pres­i­dent told re­porters in the Oval Of­fice. “We were to­tally pre­pared. It’s work­ing out very nicely. You see it at the air­ports, you see it all over. It’s work­ing out very nicely.”

At least a dozen peo­ple were be­ing held at JFK, in­clud­ing 10 Ira­ni­ans, An­dre Se­gura, a lawyer with the ACLU said.

The out­cry from lead­ers abroad was swift. In a phone call with Trump on Satur­day, French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande said de­fend­ing democ­racy “re­quires ob­serv­ing fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples”, among them wel­com­ing refugees.

Ira­nian For­eign Min­is­ter Javad Zarif promised re­cip­ro­cal mea­sures, though he said any­one with a valid visa would be wel­comed “un­like the US”. The US move “will be recorded in his­tory as a great gift to ex­trem­ists and their sup­port­ers,” Zarif wrote on Twit­ter.

Elon Musk, the bil­lion­aire chief ex­ec­u­tive of Tesla Mo­tors Inc, who was one of a dozen busi­ness lead­ers who met Trump on Mon­day, wrote on Twit­ter: “Many peo­ple neg­a­tively af­fected by this pol­icy are strong sup­port­ers of the US. They’ve done right, not wrong and don’t de­serve to be re­jected.”

Crit­i­cism of Trump’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der emerged from both the left and the right. Alex Nowrasteh, an im­mi­gra­tion-pol­icy an­a­lyst at the con­ser­va­tive Cato In­sti­tute, wrote a post be­fore the or­der was signed say­ing that for­eign­ers from the seven na­tions af­fected by the ban had “killed zero Amer­i­cans in ter­ror­ist at­tacks on US soil be­tween 1975 and 2015”.

Sen­a­tor Tim Kaine, the Vir­ginia Demo­crat who was Hil­lary Clin­ton’s run­ning mate, said Trump had “de­fied ev­ery­thing our na­tion stands for”.

Hil­lary Clin­ton, who lost to Trump in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, said on Twit­ter: “I stand with the peo­ple gath­ered across the coun­try tonight de­fend­ing our val­ues & our Con­sti­tu­tion. This is not who we are.”

PIC­TURE: EPA

Ros­alie Gurna, 9, joins hun­dreds of pro­test­ers de­nounc­ing the travel ban from Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity coun­tries, af­ter it was en­acted by US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump re­cently, out­side the in­ter­na­tional ter­mi­nal at LA In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Los An­ge­les on Satur­day.

PIC­TURE: AP

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump speaks to Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel from the Oval Of­fice at the White House at the week­end.

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