White House reverses part of ban on refugees and citizens from 7 Muslim countries after legal challenges

This story, originally posted Saturday morning, has been updated with new information Sunday afternoon.

Correction: This story originally conflated green cards with types of visas. That has been corrected July 2.

The White House announced a partial reversal of President Donald Trump’s executive order barring refugees from anywhere in the world and citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries into the United States on Sunday, the New York Times reported. Those with green cards, which grant permanent residence, coming from the seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen —will not be barred from entering the U.S.

They may still face extra screening and checks at airports, according to CNN.

Four court rulings across the U.S. temporarily blocked parts of Trump’s executive action, the Times reported. One of those, a federal court in Brooklyn, New York, ruled it illegal to send home individuals with “valid visas or refugee status.” Another federal court in Virginia temporarily blocked the removal of green card holders at a Virginia airport, the Times reported.

Thousands gathered to protest Trump’s order on Saturday and Sunday at American airports and other public spaces, according to the Times. Hundreds gathered at Denver International Airport Saturday night, as the CU Independent reported by photo and video.

On Friday, Trump temporarily halted intake of refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries into the U.S., barring Syrians indefinitely, the Times reported. Refugees who were on flights on the way to the U.S. when the order was signed were stopped and detained at airports, the Times reported Saturday morning.

In signing the ban on Friday, Trump followed through on a campaign promise for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the [U.S.].” Effectively creating a religious test for refugees from the seven countries, the order gives priority to Christians and other minority religions over Muslims, the Times reported, although it is not clear how that ties into the blanket ban on refugees, and citizens from those countries.

Trump signed the executive order shortly after putting out a statement noting Friday was International Holocaust Remembrance Day, according to the Times.

The order bars all refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days and stops immigration and entry for all citizens coming from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen for 90 days. It bars entry for Syrian refugees indefinitely, the Times reported.

Legal groups decried the move to detain refugees who were on flights at the time the ban was signed. Lawyers representing two Iraqis held at Kennedy Airport filed a writ of habeas corpus early Saturday seeking to have their clients released, the Times reported. They also filed a motion for class certification to represent all refugees and immigrants who they said were being unlawfully detained at ports of entry to the country, according to the Times.

One of the Iraqis detained at Kennedy Airport had worked on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq for 10 years, and the other was coming to the U.S. to join his wife, who had worked for an American contractor, according to the lawyers, the Times reported.

“These are people with valid visas and legitimate refugee claims who have already been determined by the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security to be admissible and to be allowed to enter the U.S. and now are being unlawfully detained,” said Mark Doss, an attorney with the International Refugee Assistance Project, according to the Times.

The complaints were brought by a group, which included the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center, the International Refugee Assistance Project, Yale Law School’s Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization and the firm Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, the Times reported. The advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations is also preparing to file a lawsuit challenging the ban.

“We don’t want them here,” Trump said of Islamist terrorists during the signing at the Pentagon, according to the Times. “We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas. We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country, and love deeply our people.”

Trump referenced the the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in his announcement, the Times reported, but most of the 19 hijackers on the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, were from Saudi Arabia. The rest were from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon, and none of those countries are on Trump’s visa ban list, the Times reported.

The New York Daily News reported that Trump has “multi-million dollar licensing and development deals” in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Turkey, all of which are excluded from the ban.

Human rights activists from the ACLU, Oxfam America and the International Rescue Committee condemned Trump’s actions, the Times reported. Critics in Muslim countries say the move will worsen perceptions of Americans and bolster the propaganda of terrorist groups Trump says he is targeting, according to the Times.

Contact CU Independent Editor-in-Chief Ellis Arnold at ellis.arnold@colorado.edu.

Ellis Arnold

Ellis Arnold is the CUI's editor-in-chief and a journalism and political science student. He writes about diversity issues, politics, student government, music and (sometimes) life advice. Is he qualified to do that? You'll never know. He's a senior from Aurora, Colorado, who's been with the CUI for eight semesters.

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