Donald Trump refugee ban: ‘arrivals from targeted countries stopped at US airports’

The International Refugee Assistance Project, one of the organisations involved in a legal challenge against Trump’s executive order banning refugees from certain countries, has said the policy is “irresponsible and dangerous”.

The organisation said in a statement: “Denying thousands of the most persecuted refugees the chance to reach safety is an irresponsible and dangerous move that undermines American values and imperils our foreign relations and national security.

“IRAP works with hundreds of the most vulnerable refugees – children with medical emergencies, survivors of gender-based violence and torture, and Afghan and Iraqi allies to U.S. forces, to name a few – who will be left in immediate life-threatening danger.

“For many of them, resettlement in the United States is their only option to live safely and with dignity.”

Yousif Al-Timimi, a Case Worker at IRAP and former IRAP client who had to flee Iraq in 2013 because of his service to the US government, said: “Those who helped the U.S. mission in Iraq are thankful to be here in the United States as refugees or through the Special Immigrant Visa program; however, for them, the fear is not over.

“Their families are still in Iraq where they might get hurt or killed just because they have ties to a person with a U.S. affiliation and are looked at as traitors. Many of them, like me, try to help their parents and siblings to get out of the country for safety.”

A legal challenge has been filed against Donald Trump’s executive order, which imposes a three-month ban on refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries and from Syria permanently.
The New York Times reports that lawyers representing two Iraqi refugees detained at JFK airport filed a challenge against the measure on Saturday, demanding their clients be released and proposing a class action in a bid to represent all refugees and migrants affected.

One of the refugees detained was named as Hameed Khalid Darweesh, who is said to have worked on behalf of the US government in Iraq for 10 years. The second detained refugee, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, was reportedly travelling to New York to join his wife and young son. They had both arrived in the US on Friday night, travelling on seperate flights.

The complaints are said to have been filed in conjunction with the American Civil Liberties Union, the International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Centre, the National Immigration Law Centre, the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organisation and the law firm Kilpatrick, Townsend and Stockton.

Mark Doss, one of the lawyers representing the pair, told the paper: “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 US and now are being unlawfully detained.”

Cairo airport officials reportedly told Reuters seven US-bound migrants, six from Iraq and one from Yemen, were prevented from boarding an EgyptAir flight to New York’s JFK airport.

The officials said the action Saturday by the airport was the first since President Donald Trump imposed a three-month ban on refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

The officials said the seven migrants, escorted by officials from the UN refugee agency, were stopped from boarding the plane after authorities at Cairo airport contacted their counterparts in JFK airport.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to brief the media.

Google would not confirm or deny reports that it has recalled staff travelling overseas back to the US.

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai, in a memo to staff seen by Bloomberg News, said more than 100 company staff are affected by the order.

The company has reportedly told these staff to get back to the US.

The employees in question normally work in the US but happened to be abroad when the order was made. The concern is that even if staff have valid visas, they may still be at risk if they are from one of the seven countries targeted by the order and they are outside the US when the order kicks in.

Google would not comment on whether staff had been recalled. It issued this statement:
We’re concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the US. We’ll continue to make our views on these issues known to leaders in Washington and elsewhere.

The Liberal democrat leader, Tim Farron, has drawn parallels between May’s visit with Trump and her meeting with Erdogan. calling the pair “unsavoury leaders”. In a statement he said:
As Theresa May seeks trade deals with ever more unsavoury leaders, she ignores the simple point that the most successful countries around the world respect human rights – economies flourish in free societies.

There are tens of thousands of people in Turkish jails without fair trial who in many cases have committed no crime, other than daring to disagree with President Erdogan. Theresa May should address this as a priority in her meeting today.

Yes, the Prime Minister should seek to promote British trade, but at this time her priority should be to secure a long-term trade deal with our European neighbours by fighting to stay in the single market.

Five Iraqi passengers and one Yemeni were barred from boarding an EgyptAir flight from Cairo to New York on Saturday following President Donald Trump’s ban on the entry of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, sources at Cairo airport said.

The passengers, arriving in transit to Cairo airport, were stopped and re-directed to flights headed for their home countries despite holding valid visas, the sources said

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