January 29, 2017 1:16:00 pm
US President Donald Trump on Friday signed an executive order hardening his stance on immigrants and refugees coming into the country. The order issued a ban on the entry of immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations and put restrictions on the entry of Syrian refugees into the US. The Republican President said that the move is issued for “national security” and to “keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the US.”
“I’m establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. We don’t want them here,” Trump said after he signed the executive order.
What does the order say?
The order puts a ban on nationals from seven Muslim-majority nations – Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen for 90 days. The ban is not on every Muslim nation and people from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, can still enter US. The order also affects individuals who are green-card holders and were travelling overseas. According to the officials, the applications of green-card holders will be judged on case-to-case basis. It also disallows refugee from different nations to enter the country for at least 120 days. The move also bars entry of refugees from Syria for an indefinite period of time.
The order does not affect anyone with US citizenship, irrespective of whether the person is a natural-born US citizen or a naturalised citizen. President Trump, at a White House Press conference, described the order as a “travel ban” and said that it is working “very nicely”. He also insisted that in spite of claims, the order is not “anti-Muslim.”
Trump defends order, says it’s not a Muslim ban
Donald Trump defended his executive order banning citizens from seven Muslim majority countries from US and said that the it is not ban on Muslims. “It’s not a Muslim ban,” Trump said. “It’s working out very nicely. You see it at the airports, you see it all over.” The US President stressed that there is going to be an extreme vetting of the citizens that will be allowed to entere the country. “We’re going to have a very, very strict ban and we’re going to have extreme vetting, which we should have had in this country for many years,” Trump said.
How world leaders reacted to Trump’s executive order
Trump’s executive order was heavily criticised by several world leaders. In a bid to give tough response to Trump’s ban on Iranian citizens, the Iranian government said that it was blocking entry to US citizens in the country. The Iranian officials described the move as “insulting” and said that they will retaliate against it till the restrictions in place are lifted. Iranian Foreign Ministry said the order will promote more violence and extremism in the United States.
British PM Theresa May, who met with Trump on Friday, admitted that she does not agree with the immigration curbs implemented by the US President. May received flak from all corners, including lawmakers from her own party, after she refused to speak on the topic during her visit to Turkey and maintained that Washington was responsible for its own immigration policies. But after returning to London, May’s spokesperson said, “We do not agree with this kind of approach and it is not one we will be taking. We are studying this new executive order to see what it means and what the legal effects are, and in particular what the consequences are for UK nationals.”
Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also came out in support of refugees and said that he will allow those fleeing persecution to stay in Canada. In a series of tweets, Trudeau said “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada.”
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said on Sunday the Muslim-majority nation deeply regrets President Trump’s immigration orders. French President Francois Hollande who had a telephonic conversation last week advised Trump against the isolationist policies. “In an unstable and uncertain world, turning inward would be a dead end,” he said. After Trump’s executive orer, France Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said, “The reception of refugees fleeing the war, fleeing oppression, is part of our duties.
Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, also expressed her opinion against the order. In a tweet, Clinton wrote, “I stand with the people gathered across the country tonight defending our values & our Constitution. This is not who we are.”
Protests outside New York airport
Thousands of protesters gathered outside New York City’s JFK airport to protest against Trump. Several families were left anguished after their family members were detained after reaching US from nations subject to the travel ban. For hours, the crowds stood outside the airport, raising slogans against Trump’s order. Hundreds of demonstrators chanted “No ban, no wall, sanctuary for all!” and “no hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here!”
Several lawyers reached the country’s airports and offered legal assistance to individuals and families who were detained at the airports. Similar scenes of chaos and protests were seen at other key airports in the country including Boston, Los Angeles and in Houston.
“What’s next? What’s going to happen next?” asked Mohammed al Rawi, an Iraqi-born American citizen in the Los Angeles area, after his 69-year-old father, coming to visit his grandchildren in California, was abruptly detained and sent back to Iraq after 12 hours in custody. “Are they going to create camps for Muslims and put us in it?” Several dozen demonstrated at the airport in Portland, Oregon, briefly disrupting light rail service while hoisting signs that read “Portland Coffee Is From Yemen” and chanting anti-Trump slogans. Among the dozens showing support for refugees at Denver’s airport were those who sang “refugees are welcome here.”
Airlines turn away passengers
Confusion, worry and outrage grew Saturday as President Donald Trump’s crackdown on refugees and citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries took effect. Airlines blocked people traveling to the United States, legal challenges were underway and doubts abounded about whether the order would make America safer.
The immediate fallout from Trump’s order meant that an untold number of foreign-born US residents now traveling outside the US could be stuck overseas for at least 90 days, despite holding permanent residency “green cards” or other visas. And some foreign nationals who were allowed to board flights before the order was signed Friday were being detained at US airports, told they were no longer welcome.
US judge ‘overturns’ Trump’s order
A federal judge, Ann Donnelly, issued an emergency stay on Saturday temporarily blocking the US government from sending people with valid visas out of the country after landing at any US airport. Thousands of people cheered the ruling at Boston’s Logan International Airport, one of several major US airports where protesters angry with Trump’s order had gathered in protest.
Indian-American woman questioned on street
Aravinda Pillalamarri, the inspiration for movie starring Shah Rukh Khan “Swades”, said that she was stopped by police during her morning stroll in her hometown and questioned about her immigration status making her feel unequal because of her colour, according to media reports. Pillalamari was stopped near her home in Bel Air in Maryland by a police officer after a neighbour had reported her as suspicious, she told local reporters. “Only when the supervisor asked ‘are you here illegally’ did my sense of colour, and of being unequal, come forth and interest in my civil rights take a back seat to get out of the situation safely,” she said.
Homeland Security says it will comply with judicial orders
The US Department of Homeland Security said on Saturday that it would “comply with judicial orders” but Trump’s executive action restricting entry into the country from seven Muslim-majority nations remains in place. “These individuals went through enhanced security screenings and are being processed for entry to the United States, consistent with our immigration laws and judicial orders,” the Homeland Security statement said.
(With inputs from AP, Reuters and PTI)
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