Mon, Jan 30, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Trump immigration ban loses its first legal battle

AFP, NEW YORK

People gather to protest at the arrival hall of San Francisco International Airport in California on Saturday after people arriving from Muslim-majority countries were held at the border control as a result of the new executive order by US President Donald Trump.

Photo: EPA

US airports yesterday braced for fresh protests against US President Donald Trump’s temporary immigration ban, which a federal judge partially blocked by ordering authorities not to deport refugees and other travelers detained at US borders.

The ruling coincided with a wave of anger and concern abroad, including among US allies, and rallies at major airports across the nation.

“Victory!!!!!!” the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which had sued the government, tweeted after US District Judge Ann Donnelly in New York issued an emergency stay.

“Our courts today worked as they should as bulwarks against government abuse or unconstitutional policies and orders,” it said.

However, the ruling, which did not touch on the constitutionality of Trump’s order, did not quiet protesters at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, where thousands had gathered.

“People are prepared to stand against this,” David Gaddis said.

“It’s not surprising that people are mobilizing,” the 43-year-old said. “Every day he’s in office, it’s a national emergency.”

Mass protests also broke out at major airports, including Washington, Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Dallas.

Trump’s executive order, signed on Friday, suspends the arrival of refugees for at least 120 days and bars visas for travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — for the next three months.

The exact number of those affected is unclear, but Donnelly ordered the government to provide lists of all those detained at US airports since the measure went into effect.

Sending those travelers back to their home countries following Trump’s order exposes them to “substantial and irreparable injury,” she wrote in her decision.

A second federal judge in Virginia also issued a temporary order restricting immigration authorities for seven days from deporting legal permanent residents detained at Dulles Airport just outside Washington.

The ACLU’s legal challenge sought the release of two Iraqi men on grounds of unlawful detention. One of them — Hameed Khalid Darweesh, who has worked as an interpreter and in other roles for the US in Iraq — was released on Saturday after being detained the day before.

The List Project, which helps Iraqis whose personal safety is threatened because they have worked for the US, was outraged over Darweesh’s detention, warning it put American lives at risk too.

“I can’t say this in blunt enough terms: You can’t screw over the people that risked their lives and bled for this country without consequences,” project founder and director Kirk Johnson said.

In Europe, French President Francois Hollande slammed the refusal of refugees, and called out to fellow EU members: “We have to respond.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel likewise condemned the restrictions, saying that however hard the fight against terrorism was, “it is not justified to place people from a certain origin or belief under general suspicion,” her spokesman said.

A spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May, who is seeking to strike up a friendship with Trump, said US immigration policy was “a matter for the government of the United States... but we do not agree with this kind of approach.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called Trump’s ban “a great gift to extremists.”

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