Sunday, 29 January 2017

US Court Blocks Deportation Of Muslims From The Airport

Donald Trump

Dozens of riot police surrounded protesters at JFK airport in New York as campaigners holding banners saying “Muslim lives matter” and “We are ALL immigrants” filled the streets.

Family reunions were blocked, refugees from war-torn countries were turned away and border agents detained scores of unsuspecting travellers at airports after the ban on visitors from seven Muslim countries came into force.

A district judge in New York last night issued a temporary emergency block on the ban, ruling that anyone who had arrived in the country with a valid visa or approved refugee application could not be deported.

Donald Trump

Among those caught in limbo include Iraqi veterans promised a life in America because of their service to the US military, frail and elderly visitors from Iran and Yemen and longtime US residents travelling abroad who don’t know if they will be allowed to return home.

Mohammed al Rawi, an Iraqi-born American citizen, said his 69-year-old dad was detained in custody for 12 hours and sent back to Iraq after coming to visit his grandchildren in California.

He said: “What’s next? What’s going to happen next? Are they going to create camps for Muslims and put us in it?”

Several people were actually in transit when President Trump signed the order placing a 90-day pause on immigration from seven mostly Muslim countries.

The move sparked mass protests at airports across the country as campaigners piled into airports in New York, San Francisco, Dallas, Seattle and Chicago to denounce the ban.

At JFK airport in New York, cabbies went on strike for an hour over Trump’s “inhumane and unconstitutional” immigration policy.

Protester David Gaddis, 43, told AFP: “People are prepared to stand against this. “It’s not surprising that people are mobilising. Every day he’s in office, it’s a national emergency.”

And any Brits born in one of the seven banned countries could be affected.

British Airways says it will offer customers affected by the travel ban a refund for their travel to the US or the opportunity to re-book their flights.

Donald Trump

Hamaseh Tayari, a UK resident with an Iranian passport, was due to fly home to Glasgow from Costa Rica via New York but was refused entry onto her flight.

Canadian MP Justin Trudeau said his country will accept refugees rejected by the USA as a result of President Trump’s ban.

German chancellor Angela Merkel – who spoke to Trump yesterday in their first phone conversation – today condemned the ban, saying the fight against terrorism does not justify putting any group under general suspicion.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Peston on Sunday this morning he is totally opposed to the ban, and said Trump’s planned visit to the UK later this year should be put on hold.

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani told Fox News that Trump had originally wanted a “Muslim ban”, asking lawyers: “Show me the right way to do it legally.”

When asked if it was connected to religion, Giuliani said: “When he first announced it he said, ‘Muslim ban.'” The 72-year-old said he and legal experts “focused on – instead of religion – danger” when they drafted the immigration crackdown.

Donald Trump

Giuliani said those predominantly Muslim countries were targeted because they are “the areas of the world that create danger for us.”

He said: “Which is a factual basis, not a religious basis,”

An official with the Department of Homeland Security told reporters 109 people in transit on aeroplanes had been denied entry and 173 were stopped from boarding planes overseas.

No green-card holders had been ultimately prevented from entering the US, the official said, but several spent long hours in detention before being allowed in.

Abdollah Mostafavi, 80, was released six hours after his flight arrived in San Francisco from Frankfurt.

“I’m so happy he’s finally out. He says he’s very tired,” said his daughter Mozhgan Mostafavi, holding back tears and speaking Farsi with her father.

Parisa Fasihianifard, 24, arrived from Tehran, Iran, to visit her husband Mohamad Zandian, only to be detained and told she had to leave.

Donald Trump

Mohamad Zandian, 26, an Iranian doctoral student at Ohio State University, said: “She was crying and she told me she was banned to come inside and go through the gates.”

He was hoping to get her out of the country on a late night flight to avoid her being jailed until Monday.

It comes as pressure mounts on Prime Minister Theresa May – who met Trump at the White House on Friday – to condemn the ban. Downing Street said the PM does “not agree” with it and would appeal to the US if it affects British citizens. Conservative peer Baroness Warsi wrote on Twitter: “The moment we once again lost a little more moral authority. The hypocrisy of the debate on #Britishvalues becomes more stark by the day.”

Courts have already started blocking deportation orders on individuals.

A federal judge in Seattle issued a temporary order stopping the deportation of two individuals, while another federal judge in Virginia blocked three people detained at Dulles airport from being deported for seven days.

Among those detained at airports last night were an ­Iranian scientist heading for Boston and visa-holder ­Hameed Khalid Darweesh, an Iraqi translator working with US troops.

Donald Trump

Hameed was held for 17 hours at New York’s JFK Airport before he was allowed to join his family, who had already been admitted. Another Iraqi, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, was released on Saturday after 24 hours’ detention during his trip to Texas to join his wife and son.

Ten others were still being held at JFK last night as protesters gathered outside to condemn the Muslim ban and a 120-day suspension on taking in refugees.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on their behalf, and on Saturday night a judge in the federal court for the Eastern District of New York issued a stay, barring the US from deporting any of those detained.

Judge Ann Donnelly ruled that deportation would cause them “irreparable harm”, though her order did not compel immigration officials to release any of those being held.

The stay is effective across the US, and the ACLU plans to widen the suit to encompass all those affected by the ban.



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