Chicago Sun-Times


Law­suits be­gin af­ter de­ten­tions of for­eign­ers cause chaos at air­ports

- Doug Stan­glin and Alan Gomez

“There is no ev­i­dence that refugees — the most thor­oughly vet­ted of all peo­ple en­ter­ing our na­tion — are a threat to na­tional se­cu­rity.” CAIR Na­tional Lit­i­ga­tion Di­rec­tor Lena F. Masri

Pres­i­dent Trump’s ban on im­mi­gra­tion by cit­i­zens from seven Mus­lim- ma­jor­ity coun­tries ran into at least a tem­po­rary road­block Satur­day night, af­ter a U. S. District judge in Brook­lyn granted an emer­gency stay sought by im­mi­grants’ rights lawyers.

The judge’s rul­ing ap­plies to those who have al­ready ar­rived in the U. S. and those who are in tran­sit who hold valid visas. The de­ci­sion halts part of Trump’s ex­ec­u­tive order, which barred cit­i­zens from those seven coun­tries for the next 90 days.

The Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity said that by Satur­day evening, its agents had stopped 109 for­eign­ers at U. S. air­ports based on Trump’s order and pre­vented an­other 173 peo­ple from board­ing flights headed for the U. S.

Af­ter U. S. District Judge Ann Donnelly granted the stay, the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union ( ACLU), which had filed suit to block Trump’s ban, is­sued a oneword cel­e­bra­tory tweet: “Vic­tory!!!!!!”

Trump’s ex­ec­u­tive order, signed Fri­day, sus­pends the en­try of all refugees to the U. S. for 120 days, halts ad­mis­sion of refugees from Syria in­def­i­nitely and bars

en­try for three months to res­i­dents from the pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim coun­tries of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Su­dan, Libya, So­ma­lia and Ye­men.

A se­nior Home­land Se­cu­rity of­fi­cial, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, said the depart­ment quickly over­hauled its screen­ing pro­ce­dures af­ter Trump signed the order Fri­day. The depart­ment is­sued new guid­ance to its Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion of­fi­cers in the field and ad­justed its com­put­er­ized tar­get­ing sys­tem to iden­tify peo­ple who are barred en­try through the ex­ec­u­tive order.

The of­fi­cial said the order al­lowed le­gal per­ma­nent res­i­dents — known as green- card hold­ers — and for­eign­ers who were granted spe­cial visas for Iraqi and Afghan in­ter­preters, to en­ter af­ter un­der­go­ing a full back­ground check and in­per­son in­ter­view. The of­fi­cial said 81 peo­ple made it through that process and were al­lowed to en­ter the coun­try.

In Vir­ginia, an­other fed­eral judge is­sued a tem­po­rary re­strain­ing order Satur­day night, di­rect­ing the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity to al­low lawyers to meet with le­gal per­ma­nent res­i­dents de­tained at Wash­ing­ton Dulles In­ter­na­tional Air­port. U. S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema for­bade Home­land Se­cu­rity from de­port­ing any of the green- card hold­ers for seven days.

“Pres­i­dent Trump never gave a se­cond thought to how his dis­crim­i­na­tory, un- Amer­i­can order would ac­tu­ally play out on the ground,” Vir­ginia At­tor­ney Gen­eral Mark Her­ring said.

Karen Tum­lin, le­gal di­rec­tor for the Na­tional Im­mi­gra­tion Law Cen­ter, which was part of the suit in New York, said the lawyers were “tremen­dously re­lieved” by the judge’s stay. But she said the le­gal team was quickly mov­ing to free the im­mi­grants who re­mained in U. S Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion cus­tody Satur­day night based on Trump’s ex­ec­u­tive order.

She chal­lenged the DHS num­bers, call­ing them “al­ter­na­tive facts.”

“We have 50 Ira­nian green- card hold­ers be­ing held from one sin­gle flight at ( Los An­ge­les In­ter­na­tional Air­port),” Tum­lin said. “It doesn’t add up.”

The fall­out from the pres­i­dent’s tem­po­rary ban struck with full force ear­lier Satur­day, block­ing some trav­el­ers from board­ing their planes over­seas, com­pelling oth­ers to turn around upon ar­rival in the U. S., and prompt­ing cus­toms agents at New York’s JFK Air­port to de­tain at least a dozen peo­ple, in­clud­ing a for­mer Iraqi trans­la­tor for the U. S. mil­i­tary in Bagh­dad.

The grow­ing chaos sparked le­gal chal­lenges, air­port protests, con­dem­na­tions from politi­cians and de­nun­ci­a­tions from ad­vo­cacy groups. The re­ver­ber­a­tions be­gan only hours af­ter Trump signed the ex­ec­u­tive order Fri­day. In brief re­marks while sign­ing his lat­est ex­ec­u­tive or­ders Satur­day, Trump main­tained the order isn’t a “Mus­lim ban.” “It’s work­ing out very nicely. We’re going to have a strict ban, and we’re going to have ex­treme vet­ting, which we should have had in this coun­try for many years,” he said.

Hameed Khaldi Dar­weesh, who was a trans­la­tor for Amer­i­can forces for 10 years, was de­tained overnight at JFK along with 11 oth­ers fol­low­ing his ar­rival from Istanbul. Af­ter be­ing re­leased Satur­day, Dar­weesh said he had feared he would be sent back to Iraq, which his fam­ily fled be­cause of death threats.

When asked by re­porters out­side the air­port what he thought of Trump, Dar­weesh said, “I don’t know. He’s a pres­i­dent, I’m a nor­mal per­son.”

He said he was fo­cused in­stead on the lawyers who won his re­lease. “This is the soul of Amer­ica,” Dar­weesh said. “This is what pushed me to move, to leave my coun­try and come here. Amer­ica is the land of free­dom.”

“The im­pact of what Pres­i­dent Trump was look­ing for is in full ef­fect. Com­plete chaos.” Abed Ay­oud, le­gal and pol­icy di­rec­tor, Amer­i­can- Arab Anti- Dis­crim­i­na­tion Com­mit­tee

 ?? STEPHANIE KEITH, GETTY IM­AGES ?? A crowd at New York City’s John F. Kennedy In­ter­na­tional Air­port protests the Mus­lim travel ban Satur­day.
STEPHANIE KEITH, GETTY IM­AGES A crowd at New York City’s John F. Kennedy In­ter­na­tional Air­port protests the Mus­lim travel ban Satur­day.

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