Chaos as Donald Trump’s Muslim ban comes into effect

Donald Trump’s Muslim ban sees mass protests and tearful families with travellers detained at airports… but court rules they CAN’T be sent home

MUSLIM air travellers were refused entry to America yesterday as Donald Trump’s immigration ban kicked in, causing airport chaos.

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

Among them were an ­Iranian scientist heading for Boston and visa-holder ­Hameed Khalid Darweesh, an Iraqi translator working with US troops.

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.

An untold number of foreign-born US residents now travelling outside the country could be stuck overseas for at least three months, while many who are in the country cannot leave.

Those already in the US with a visa or green card would be allowed to stay, according to one official, who wished to remain anonymous.

Among those also believed to be affected is Olympic hero Mo Farah, who is a British passport holder but was born in Somalia – one of seven countries to which travel restrictions apply.

It emerged late on Saturday that the restrictions would also apply to people with dual citizenship – including Brits.

The gold medal-winner – who now lives in the US – is understood to be away training in Ethiopia – meaning he may not be able to return home to his family.

The Sun contacted Farah’s representatives for comment.

A Tory MP and his wife are also among those affected by the travel ban.

Nadhim Zahawi, MP for Stratford-upon-Avon, today revealed he and his wife were both unable to travel to the US because they were born in Iraq.

He wrote on Twitter: “What if you are British of Iraqi origin, as I am? A sad sad day to feel like a second class citizen! Sad day for the USA.”

The politician later followed this up with a second post, tweeting: “Had confirmation that the order does apply to myself and my wife as we were both born in Iraq. Even if we are not dual Nat.”

Officials in Egypt also prevented seven migrants from boarding a flight to the US yesterday.

There were also fears last night that Iranian film director Asghar Farhadi, 45, will not be allowed to attend next month’s Oscars. He is up for a Best Foreign Film Academy Award for The Salesman. He won the category in 2012.

Iran, one of the seven nations barred by Mr Trump, called the ban an insult. It vowed to block all US citizens from entering its country in response. In Turkey, PM Theresa May refused three times to condemn the US stand. But after arriving back from Ankara her spokesman said: “We do not agree with this kind of approach.”

Trump said the ban was “working out very nicely”.

 
 
 
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Seven US-bound migrants are stopped from boarding flight in Cairo as Trumps ban on refugees from seven Muslim countries sweeps into force

Some of the chaos and confusion was blamed on the Trump administration, which has yet to issue guidance to airlines on how to implement the executive order.

A senior Homeland Security official told NBC News: "Nobody has any idea what is going on."

All over the world there was chaos at airports as the ban came into force.

Seven people - six Iraqis and a Yemeni - were stopped from boarding a flight from Cairo, Egypt, to New York despite having valid visas to travel to America.

And Dutch airline KLM also revealed it had to turn away seven would-be passengers because they would no longer have been accepted into the US.

KLM spokesperson Manel Vrijenhoek said: "We would love to bring them there. Thats not the problem.

"Its just that this is what the US sprang on the rest of the world that these people are no longer welcome."

She revealed the seven were due to fly with KLM from different airports around the world.

Vrijenhoek said she had no specifics on their nationalities, although she confirmed they were from countries affected by the three-month immigration ban – Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

The ban sparked panic when it came into effect at 4.30pm on Friday with many passengers left in legal limbo as to whether or not their valid visas would be accepted if they tried to enter the US.

Two of the first people blocked from entering the United States were Iraqis with links to the US military.

Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi were detained by immigration officials after landing at New Yorks John F. Kennedy International Airport on Friday night.

One of them, Hameed Khalid Darweesh – who worked as an interpreter for the US Army in Iraq – was released on Saturday afternoon.

After being detained for nearly 19 hours, he began to cry as he hugged friends and protesters in emotional scenes.

He told reporters: “What I do for this country? They put the cuffs on.

“You know how many soldiers I touch by this hand?”

The other man, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, still remains in custody as lawyers argue for his release.

As well as Alshawi , 10 others remain detained at JFK, according to Democratic congressman Jerrold Nadler, who went to the airport to press for the release of the first two men.

Nadler told CNN: "It is certainly mean-spirited and ill conceived. It is certainly an instance of religious discrimination."

A spontaneous protest began outside the airport, rapidly growing in size.

Demonstrators chanted and waved placards as it was announced that legal challenges were being launched.

Google are understood to have recalled all their staff travelling abroad back to America over visa fears.

Bloomberg News reports that a memo sent to Google’s staff stated that over 100 employees were affected by the situation.

The memo, written by the tech giant’s CEO Sundar Pichai, read: "It’s painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues.

"We’ve always made our view on immigration issues known publicly and will continue to do so."

The new ban was introduced by the Republican president yesterday as part of a move that he described as allowing for “extreme vetting” and to “keep terrorists out”.

Trumps executive order places a ban on travel to the US by people from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia for 90 days.

He has also suspended the US Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days.

Visiting the State Department on Friday, Trump said: “We are establishing new vetting measures, to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America.”

He added: “We don’t want ‘em here. We want to ensure we aren’t admitting into our country the very threats that our men and women are fighting overseas.”

The move by the new US president has drawn heavy criticism.

Nobel peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai, shot in the head by the Pakistani Taliban in 2012 to stop her campaigning for girls education and co-winner of the 2014, said she is “heartbroken” by the ban.

She released a statement saying: “I am heartbroken that today President Trump is closing the door on children, mothers and fathers fleeing violence and war.”

And Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg slammed the ban, saying: “We need to keep this country safe, but we should do that by focusing on people who actually pose a threat.”

But in Turkey, PM Theresa May refused three times to condemn the travel restrictions.

At a press conference in Ankara, she would only say: “The US is responsible for its policy.”

But the president defended the order, telling reporters it was "not a Muslim ban".

He said: "Its working out very nicely. Were going to have a very, very strict ban and were going to have extreme vetting, which we should have had in this country for many years."

The Sun

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