U.S. President Donald Trump signed an order on Friday to stop immigration from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, drawing criticism globally and creating confusion at the nation’s borders.
Tens of thousands of people rallied in U.S. cities and at airports on Sunday in a show of outrage for the order.
U.S. judges in at least four states have blocked federal authorities from enforcing the order which applies to Muslim-majority countries.
The first, U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly in New York's Brooklyn borough, ruled in a lawsuit by two men from Iraq being held at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
While none of the rulings strike down the executive order, the growing number of orders could complicate the government’s efforts to enforce it, reports Reuters.
The order halts immigration from the seven countries for 90 days and stops the resettlement of refugees for 120 days.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Sunday said it will comply with judicial orders in a manner that ensures those entering the United States “do not pose a threat to our country or the American people.”
Rights at Ports and Airports
New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, has issued a statement saying: “I never thought I’d see the day when refugees, who have fled war-torn countries in search of a better life, would be turned away at our doorstep. We are a nation of bridges, not walls, and a great many of us still believe in the words ‘give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses...’
“This is not who we are and not who we should be.
“I have directed the Port Authority, the Department of State and my Counsel’s Office to jointly explore all legal options to assist anyone detained at New York airports and ensure that their rights are protected.
“America is a nation of laws, and those laws provide rights that must be respected and followed regardless of political ideology.”
Maritime lawyer Jim Walker reports that when the Allure of the Seas docked in Port Everglades on Sunday U.S. Customs officers reportedly requested the captain to first disembark green card holders from the seven countries subject to the executive order. It is unknown if any passengers or crew have been detained.
The Port of Seattle Commission has issued a statement saying: “This airport is owned by the citizens of King County, and our responsibility is to steward it for their wellbeing and long-term future. The Port of Seattle Commissioners, Tom Albro, Courtney Gregoire, Stephanie Bowman, Fred Felleman and John Creighton are here today to express our concerns over the immigration ban executive order that was issued late last night. As the government that operates this airport, this executive order runs counter to our values. America is great because we are a land of immigrants, and that is what made us great to begin with.”
The Port of Seattle has started providing private waiting areas for families at the airport and connecting families to lawyers who can help advocate for their rights and the rights of their loved ones.
Governments around the world have spoken out against Trump’s order. Reuters reports Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel saying the global fight against terrorism was no excuse for the measures and does not justify putting people of a specific background or faith under general suspicion.
Merkel cites the Geneva Conventions which require the international community to take in war refugees on humanitarian grounds.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country welcomed those fleeing war and persecution regardless of faith.
In Baghdad, influential Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said American nationals should leave Iraq. “It would be arrogance for you to enter freely Iraq and other countries while barring to them the entrance to your country.”
A Temporary Situation
However Trump says: “We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas.”
Trump tweeted on Sunday that the U.S. needed “extreme vetting, NOW” but later, in a statement, said: “This is not about religion. This is about terror and keeping our country safe. We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days.”