President Donald Trump has issued an executive order banning travel to the US from seven Muslim-majority countries.
The order has caused confusion at the nation’s airports as some people from those countries were detained as they arrived in the US. The move also has been met with legal challenges and street protests across America.
Here are the latest developments:
- No one is being held in an airport or other detention facility from the initial group affected by the travel ban executive order, Department of Homeland Security Press Secretary Gillian Christensen told CNN Sunday night.
- Christensen said 392 green card holders – so-called lawful permanent residents – were given exemptions and entered the US.
- A Homeland Security official told CNN that green card holders will still go through additional screening and national security checks upon landing. Unless they have a significant criminal history or links to terrorism, they will be allowed back in the country after going the check.
- The Trump administration stood by the implementation of the ban Sunday afternoon. Saying “it has been implemented successfully and according to administration policy. It has also resulted in extremely minimal disruption that is more than outweighed by the enormous benefits to our security.”
- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo launched a confidential toll-free assistance hotline for New Yorkers to report anyone believed to be detained, missing or left in vulnerable situations at NY airports as a result of the order.
- Sudan’s Ministry of Affairs called for the immediate removal of its name from the US list of “State Sponsors of Terrorism” and its designation as a “Country of Particular Concern” on Sunday.
- Protesters gathered again Sunday in Washington, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Seattle and other cities.
Confusion over the executive order
Trump administration officials seemed at times to contradict themselves during appearances on Sunday news shows. On NBC, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said the order “doesn’t affect” green card holders, then later said “of course” it affects green card holders from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia – the seven countries that Trump has banned immigration from for 90 days.
Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina released a joint statement Sunday saying: “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.
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“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, Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security,” they added.
“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.”
Attorneys general from 15 states and the District of Columbia issued a joint statement condemning what they called an “unconstitutional, un-American and unlawful Executive Order.” The statement was issued by the attorneys general of New York state, California, Pennsylvania, Washington state, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Virginia, Oregon, the District of Columbia, Connecticut, Vermont, Illinois, New Mexico, Iowa, Maine and Maryland.
“As the chief legal officers for over 130 million Americans and foreign residents of our states, we … will work together to ensure the federal government obeys the Constitution, respects our history as a nation of immigrants, and does not unlawfully target anyone because of their national origin or faith,” they said in the statement.
“We are confident that the Executive Order will ultimately be struck down by the courts. In the meantime, we are committed to working to ensure that as few people as possible suffer from the chaotic situation that it has created.”
Also, British Prime Minister Theresa May ordered the nation’s foreign secretary and home secretary to hold talks with their US counterparts “to protect the rights of British nationals.”
Meanwhile, for a second consecutive day, protesters were rallying across the country against President Trump’s immigration policies.
Throngs of people gathered Sunday afternoon outside the White House. Crowds also formed in Boston’s Copley Square, at Battery Park in Manhattan and at airports in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Washington and Dallas, with more planned in other cities.
These follow demonstrations that erupted Saturday over Trump’s travel ban.
In New York City, a large crowd gathered at JFK International Airport Saturday to protest the detention of two Iraqis who were later released. Several New York officials showed support for the protests.
“Mr. President, look at us,” said US Rep. Nydia Velazquez, a New York Democrat. “This is America. What you have done is shameful. It’s un-American.” The protesters gathered in Terminal 4 at JFK and carried signs reading, “We are all immigrants!” and “No ban! No wall!”
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe joined protesters Saturday at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C. “This Executive Order is antithetical to the values that make America great, and it will make our country less safe,” he said in a statement.
In Portland, Oregon, one demonstrator carried a sign that read, “Portland coffee comes from Yemen,” one of the seven Muslim-majority nations on the no-travel list.
Details of the executive order
On Friday, Trump signed an order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and suspending all refugee admission for 120 days.
The countries affected are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia, according to a White House official. It also caps the total number of refugees admitted into the United States during the 2017 fiscal year at 50,000, down more than half from the current level of 110,000.
“I am establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America,” Trump said during the signing at the Pentagon. “We don’t want them here.”