World leaders kicked at the weekend against United States President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration order.
There were outrage around the world and protests in many United States airports.
It was chaotic at major airports across the world as airlines adjusted their crew members to avoid running foul of the order.
United States Republican senators John McCain and Linsey Graham drove home the deep implications of the order on United States security in their condemnation of the order, which bans citizens of seven majority Muslim countries in Africa and Asia —Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Yemen and Syria — from visiting the U.S..
It also puts a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the U.S.
Sixteen Attorneys General in the U.S. have also declared the order as unconstitutional.
In a joint statement, 16 attorneys general, from states including California, New York and Pennsylvania, said they would “use all of the tools of our offices to fight this unconstitutional order” and, until it was struck down, would “work to ensure that as few people as possible suffer from the chaotic situation that it has created”.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said Britain did not agree with “this kind of approach”.
May had been criticised by lawmakers in her ruling Conservative Party for not condemning Trump’s decision.
Her spokesman said: “Immigration policy in the United States is a matter for the government of the United States, just the same as immigration policy for this country should be set by our government.”
“But 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.”
Mrs May has told Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Amber Rudd to contact their U.S. counterparts and make representations about the order barring refugees and visa holders from the seven countries.
Johnson tweeted it was “divisive and wrong” to stigmatise people on the basis of nationality.
Mrs May has come under fire for not condemning the order earlier.
A Conservative Member of British Parliament, Nadhim Zahawi, who was born in Iraq, is among those who have said they would not be able to travel to the U.S. while the temporary ban – 90 days – is in place.
British Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah, who was born in Somalia and lives in the U.S., has also said it is “deeply troubling” that he may have to tell his children he cannot go home.
The prime minister has had a conference call with Mr Johnson and Ms Rudd and instructed them to make representations to their opposite numbers in the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security, aimed at protecting the rights of British nationals.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also spoke out against the U.S. immigration ban.
A spokesman said the German leader believes the measure is wrong.
The German chancellor said the fight against terrorism “does not justify putting people from specific background or faiths under general suspicion”, her spokesman has told Germany’s Spiegel newspaper.
Germany’s dpa news agency quoted Mrs Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert saying yesterday that “she is convinced that even the necessary, resolute fight against terrorism doesn’t justify putting people of a particular origin or particular faith under general suspicion.”
Merkel and Trump spoke by phone on Saturday for the first time since his inauguration.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that his government remained committed to welcoming ”those fleeing persecution, terror and war”.
Trudeau has taken a stand on social media against the temporary US ban on refugees and immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Mr Trudeau underscored his government’s commitment to bringing in “those fleeing persecution, terror & war”.
The US Department of Homeland Security said the entry ban would also apply to dual nationals of the seven countries.
However, Mr Trudeau’s office says Canadian dual nationals are exempt.
“We have been assured that Canadian citizens travelling on Canadian passports will be dealt with in the usual process,” a spokeswoman for Mr Trudeau said in an emailed statement.
Trump’s National Security Adviser Mike Flynn “confirmed that holders of Canadian passports, including dual citizens, will not be affected by the ban,” the statement said.
Canada’s Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen is a dual national who arrived as a Somali refugee.
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) released the following a statement yesterday on the President’s executive order on immigration:
“Our government has a responsibility to defend our borders, but we must do so in a way that makes us safer and upholds all that is decent and exceptional about our nation.
“It is clear from the confusion at our airports across the nation that President Trump’s executive order was not properly vetted. We are particularly concerned by reports that this order went into effect with little to no consultation with the Departments of State, Defence, Justice, and Homeland Security.
“Such a hasty process risks harmful results. We should not stop green-card holders from returning to the country they call home. We should not stop those who have served as interpreters for our military and diplomats from seeking refuge in the country they risked their lives to help.
“And we should not turn our backs on those refugees who have been shown through extensive vetting to pose no demonstrable threat to our nation, and who have suffered unspeakable horrors, most of them women and children.
“Ultimately, we fear this executive order will become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism. At this very moment, American troops are fighting side-by-side with our Iraqi partners to defeat Isil. But this executive order bans Iraqi pilots from coming to military bases in Arizona to fight our common enemies.
“Our most important allies in the fight against ISIL are the vast majority of Muslims who reject its apocalyptic ideology of hatred. This executive order sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country.
“That is why we fear this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.”
A US judge has issued a temporary halt to the deportation of visa holders or refugees stranded at airports after President Trump’s ban order.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a case in response to the order issued on Friday.
The White House said 109 people were detained, and around two dozen travellers were still being held.
Thousands of people gathered at U.S. airports to protest against the move.
Defending his move, Mr Trump early yesterday tweeted: “Our country needs strong borders and extreme vetting, NOW.” He told reporters on Saturday that the executive order was “working out very nicely. You see it at the airports, you see it all over”.
His Chief of Staff Reince Priebus denied that the introduction of the ban had been chaotic. He said that, of the 325,000 people entering the U.S. on Saturday, 109 were detained.
“Most of those people were moved out,” he told NBC’s Meet the Press programme. “We’ve got a couple of dozen more than remain and I would suspect that as long as they’re not awful people that they will move through before another half a day today.”
The ruling from federal Judge Ann Donnelly, in New York, prevented the removal from the U.S. of people with approved refugee applications, valid visas, and “other individuals… legally authorised to enter the United States”.
The emergency ruling also said there was a risk of “substantial and irreparable injury” to those affected.
Her ruling is not on the constitutionality of Mr Trump’s executive order.
The department of homeland security said it would continue to enforce the measures.
Ali worked for three years as an interpreter for the U.S. Army and gained admittance to the U.S. through a Special Immigrant Visa, reserved for Iraqi and Afghan nationals who face threats of violence for working for Americans during the conflicts there.
He now has a green card, and returned to Iraq for his father’s funeral, only to be delayed for hours for questioning at Dulles.
“We are not terrorists. We are not bad people,” said Ali. “It’s so hard. I hope they will change their minds on this position.”
The court case was brought early on Saturday on behalf of two Iraqi men detained at JFK Airport in New York. One worked for the US military in Iraq, while the other is married to a former US military contract employee.
Both have now been released. Another court hearing is set for February.
Lee Gelernt, deputy legal director of the Immigrants Rights Project, who argued the case in court, said that some people had been threatened with being “put back on a plane” later on Saturday.
Mr Gelernt also said the judge had ordered the government to provide a list of names of those detained under the order.
Judges elsewhere in the US have also ruled on the issue:
In Boston, a judge decided two Iranian nationals, professors at the University of Massachusetts, should be released from detention at Logan International Airport.
An order issued in Virginia banned, for seven days, the deportation of green card holders held at Dulles Airport and ordered the authorities to allow access to lawyers
A Seattle judge issued an emergency stay of removal from the US for two people
Criticism of Mr Trump’s decision has been growing louder outside the US.
Iran and Iraq are threatening a reciprocal ban on US citizens entering the country.
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said “even the necessary, determined fight against terrorism does not justify placing people of a certain origin or belief under general suspicion”.
Emirates airline has changed pilot and flight attendant rosters on flights to the U.S. as a result of the order.
However, it said that U.S. flights continue to operate as scheduled.
According to the International Air Transport Association, “the decision caught airlines off guard.’’
The ban applies to pilots and flight attendants from the seven countries, even though all flight crew who are not U.S. citizens already needed a special visa to enter the country.
Another Emirates spokesperson said the impact of the ban on operations would be minimal.
The airline employs over 23,000 flight attendants and about four thousand pilots from around the world, including the U.S., Europe and the Middle East.
Etihad said on its website that dual citizens could travel to the U.S. using their non-banned passport.
Qatar Airways declined to comment on the impact of the ban on flight operations.
Although, on Saturday, it issued a statement on its website that passengers would need a green card or diplomatic visa to enter the U.S. Emirates and Etihad issued similar statements
In Paris, Air France joined the airlines turning passengers away.
An Air France spokesman said: ”The passengers arrived on flights to Paris where they were due to transfer to fights to the US. Air France took them in charge and flew them back to the airports where their trips had originated.
“This concerned less than 10 people in total who had arrived on various different flights. The flights were not from the countries on the (Trump) list but the passengers were citizens of the countries on the list.”
The spokesman said that henceforth passengers from countries on the list with tickets for the US from or via Paris would not be allowed board flights in whatever airport in whichever country.
He said he didn’t know how many had already reserved tickets for flights to the US who would now not be allowed to travel.
He added that Air France would henceforth alert passengers to the new restrictions.
Dutch airline KLM said it had refused carriage to the United States to seven passengers from predominately Muslim countries subject to a temporary immigration ban imposed by the Trump administration.
A spokeswoman for KLM, part of the Franco-Dutch Air France KLM group, declined to specify which countries the passengers came from or where they were flying from.
“Worldwide, we had seven passengers whom we had to inform that there was no point in us taking them to the U.S.,” said spokeswoman Manel Vrijenhoek. “There is still some lack of clarity about whom this ban affects.”
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