Refugees Detained at Airports After Trump Order
Iraqis stopped at JFK had valid visas
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2017 10:12 AM CST
FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2017 file photo, Muslim women shout slogans during a rally against President Donald Trump's order cracking down on immigrants living in the U.S. at Washington Square Park in New...   (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
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(Newser) – President Trump's executive order shutting down the US refugee program and banning entry for citizen of seven Muslim-majority countries is now in effect—and some travelers whose flights took off before the order was signed have found themselves detained at American airports after landing. Lawyers say the detainees include two Iraqi men detained at JFK Friday night, the New York Times reports. One of the men worked for the US as an interpreter and engineer in Iraq for a decade after the 2003 invasion. Lawyers tell the Times they were not allowed to meet with the men and when they asked a border agent who they could speak to, they were told: "Call the president. Call Mr. Trump." In other coverage:

  • Lawyers for the two detained Iraqis, Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkaleq Alshawi, are suing Trump and the US government in what CNN reports is the first legal challenge to the executive order. Darweesh, the former US employee, had a special immigrant visa and Alshawi had a visa to join his wife and son, who were granted refugee status because the wife worked for the US military. The lawyers say it is unlawful for the US to detain people with valid visas.

  • The Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee says people from the countries named in the Trump order—Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya—are being held in the US or banned from boarding US-bound flights even if they have green cards, the New York Daily News reports. The group says it has warned people from those countries already in the US to avoid leaving the country. The order Trump signed Friday bans entry for 90 days, but it could be extended indefinitely.
  • The AP reports that officials in Cairo say seven migrants, six from Iraq and one from Yemen, were prevented from boarding a US-bound EgyptAir plane after officials at Cairo airport called the US for guidance.
  • The move has caused anger in the affected countries, with some saying they have already scrapped plans to study or work in the US. "This is a stupid, terrible decision which will hurt the American people more than us or anybody else, because it shows that this president can't manage people, politics, or global relationships," Najeed Haidari, a Yemeni-American security manager for an oil company, tells Reuters.
  • Thousands of academics, including a dozen Nobel laureates, have signed a petition opposing the Trump order as a discriminatory move that is detrimental to US interests and causes undue hardship to fellow academics from affected countries, the Washington Post reports. Organizers say they are getting 10 emails a minute.
  • Bloomberg reports that Google ordered employees from affected countries who were traveling outside the US when the order was issued to try to get back as quickly as possible. The company has strongly advised employees from those countries who are still in the US to avoid travel.
  • Trump's order is illegal under a 1965 law that followed the "long and shameful history in this country of barring immigrants based on where they came from," David J. Bier writes in an op-ed at the New York Times. The Nationality Act that Lyndon Johnson signed into law states that no person could be "discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person's race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence," and courts have affirmed the law in previous cases, Bier writes.

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