U.S Court Halts Trump's Controversial Immigration Ban As Chaos Ensues
NEW DELHI: Chaos and confusion ensued as United State’s President Donald Trump’s controversial order barring refugees from entering the US and halting entry from seven predominantly Muslim countries came into effect. Scenes from airports where refugees who had been in the air when the order was implemented were shared on social media, massive crowds gathered outside airports in protest of the ban, world leaders spoke out condemning the move, and legal scholars debated the order’s scope.
A temporary victory was attained after a federal judge ordered a stay on Donald Trump deportation order for people who have arrived in the US with valid visas from seven-majority Muslim nations. “I think the government hasn’t had a full chance to think about this,” judge Ann Donnelly told the court in Brooklyn, ordering the government to provide a list of names for people affected. The stay is applicable nationally.
The court ruled on a habeas corpus petition filed by the ACLU on behalf of Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi. Darweesh and Alshawi were denied entry to the US on landing at New York’s JFK airport and detained indefinitely. Darweesh had worked for a decade with the United States military in Iraq as an interpreter and engineer and had been granted an entry visa after thorough background checks. Alshawi had been granted a visa so that he could join his wife and son who are permanent residents of the US after similar experience with the US military.
Although the court specifically ruled on Sarweesh and Alshawi, the order covers those detained and denied entry under similar circumstances. The stay, however, is a temporary measure, with a final judgement on the issue now pending. Further, the stay only covers airport detainees and those in transit, and doesn’t apply to the ban in its entirety.
WATCH: ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero coming out of the court where the ACLU just argued and won block of Trump's Muslim ban. pic.twitter.com/kvWDgWiUIn— ACLU National (@ACLU) January 29, 2017
Stay of ban removals pic.twitter.com/jZjtidm2IF— Omar C. Jadwat (@OmarJadwat) January 29, 2017
The ban was implemented late on Friday, leading immediately to widespread confusion as there was lack of clarity about how it would be enforced. The decisions leading to it were made hurriedly, and with lack of transparency. The order itself halts all immigration from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and Syria. The fact that it targets Muslim majority countries had led many on social media to dub it the ‘Muslim Ban’ with the hashtag for the same trending on Twitter.
As the ban went into effect, stories of chaos and confusion began pouring in. The ban affected millions of people, including those with dual citizenship and green cards.
Huge crowds immediately starting gathering to protest the ban.
World leaders issued condemnation. The United Nations refugee agency and the International Organization for Migration called on the Trump administration to continue offering asylum to people fleeing war and persecution. France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said, in a joint press conference with Germany, that "the reception of refugees fleeing the war, fleeing oppression, is part of our duties.”
"The United States is a country where Christian traditions have an important meaning. Loving your neighbour is a major Christian value, and that includes helping people," said Germany's Sigmar Gabriel.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that “regional issues cannot be solved by closing the doors on people” at a joint news conference in Ankara with British Prime Minister Theresa May. May, however, refused to condemn the move. "The United States is responsible for the United States' policy on refugees,” she said when pressed on the issue.
"The decision is .. bad for Europe, because it's going to strengthen even further the mistrust and hatred towards the West in the heart of the Muslim world," Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said.
Canada’s Justin Trudeau went a step further, telling refugees rejected by the US that they were welcome in Canada. “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada,” he tweeted.
“The Prime Minister is looking forward to discussing the successes of Canada’s immigration and refugee policy with the President when they next speak,” Trudeau spokeswoman Kate Purchase told The Associated Press.
Internally in the US, there was mounting criticism of the ban. Political representative from the Democratic party have been vocal, and crowds have surged in opposition to the move. A number of groups have publicly issued condemnations of the ban.
A statement issued by “Academic Against Immigration Executive Order” reads, “This Executive Order is discriminatory. The EO unfairly targets a large group of immigrants and non-immigrants on the basis of their countries of origin, all of which are nations with a majority Muslim population. This is a major step towards implementing the stringent racial and religious profiling promised on the campaign trail. The United States is a democratic nation, and ethnic and religious profiling are in stark contrast to the values and principles we hold.” The statement has been signed by a number of nobel laureates and can be read and supported in its entirety here.
The US tech industry -- a major employer of people from overseas -- issued strong condemnation. Netflix Inc Chief Executive Reed Hastings called it "a sad week" and added that "it is time to link arms together to protect American values of freedom and opportunity."
Apple CEO Tim Cook told employees that Trump's order was "not a policy we support" and promised to help affected employees. Elon Musk took to Twitter to say that "The blanket entry ban on citizens from certain primarily Muslim countries is not the best way to address the country’s challenges."
Airbnb moved to provide free housing to anyone not allowed into the United States. Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said that "not allowing countries or refugees into America is not right and we must stand with those who are affected."
"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 U.S.," Google said in a statement.
"As a company, Microsoft believes in a strong and balanced high-skilled immigration system," Microsoft Corp President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said in a company-wide email "we believe in the importance of protecting legitimate and law-abiding refugees whose very lives may be at stake in immigration proceedings."
Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick, who has faced criticism from some employees for participating in President Trump's business advisory council, said that the company will compensate employees affected by the ban. "This ban will impact many innocent people - an issue that I will raise this coming Friday when I go to Washington for President Trump’s first business advisory group meeting," Kalanick said.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg said he was “concerned” about the order and reiterated his support for immigrants.
Meanwhile, legal scholars have raised questions regarding the legitimacy of the ban. The Immigration and Nationality Act, implemented by congress in 1965 banned all discrimination against immigrants on the basis of national origin. President Lyndon B Johnson said as he signed the law that “the harsh injustice” of the national-origins quota system had been “abolished.” The law states that no person could be “discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth or place of residence.” This is being referred to by lawyers and groups that are actively challenging the ban in the country’s courts, with the federal court stay on Saturday being the first victory, albeit small.