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Judges Block Deportations of Detainees at US Airports Under Trump Refugee Order

Judges Block Deportations of Detainees at US Airports Under Trump Refugee Order


By    |   Sunday, 29 January 2017 08:27 AM EST

Two federal judges late Saturday dealt blows to the refugee executive order President Donald Trump signed the day before, temporarily blocking deportations of those detained at U.S airports who were traveling from the seven majority-Muslim countries covered by the directive.

On Sunday morning, President Donald Trump responded via Twitter:


In New York, Judge Ann Donnelly of U.S. District Court in Brooklyn granted a request from the American Civil Liberties Union to stay deportations nationwide, while Judge Leonie Brinkema in Virginia issued a seven-day block on sending back green-card holders detained at Dulles International Airport.

But neither judge allowed detainees into the United States, nor did either broaden  their decisions to address on the constitutionality President Trump’s action, according to news reports.

The New York case was brought in an overnight filing Saturday by the ACLU and other groups on behalf of two Iraqi men who were detained Friday at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The men, who had valid U.S. visas, were Hameed Khalid Darweesh, who once served the Army as an interpreter in Iraq, and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, who was heading to Houston.

They were among 12 Iraqi travelers detained Friday by Homeland Security personnel. The two were released on Saturday before the two rulings were issued.

Ten others remained in federal custody late Saturday, according to news reports.

The ACLU said that Judge Donnelly's stay could affect as many as 200 people currently detained at U.S. airports or who were traveling to the United States, but government lawyers could not confirm that number.

The White House has not yet commented on either decision.

Trump signed the order Friday.

Besides Iraq, it banned travelers for 90 days from six other countries that have been linked by national security officials to terrorism: Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

The directive also suspended entry of all refugees for 120 days and indefinitely halted all admissions from Syria.

Trump's order took effect immediately — and Homeland Security staffers began detaining travelers from the affected countries at U.S airports.

But a senior agency official told The Washington Post on Saturday that President Trump's order had created minimal disruption, given that only a small number of the thousands of travelers arriving at U.S. airports every day had been affected.

Nationwide, 109 people had been denied entry into the United States, he said.

All had been traveling when Trump signed the order, the official added, and some had left the U.S. on flights by late Saturday.

Others were still being detained while awaiting flights, he said.

In addition, 173 people had not been allowed to board flights at foreign airports that were headed to the U.S.

The official told the Post that Homeland Security had granted 81 waivers to green-card holders after reviewing individual cases on Saturday.

In the hearing in Brooklyn, Judge Donnelly said that those being detained at U.S. airports were traveling while Trump's order took effect.

"Our own government presumably approved their entry to the country," she said, according to the Post, noting that they would have been allowed into the U.S. just two days earlier.

Meanwhile, the fallout from President Trump's decision was widespread, with Democrats, some Republicans and other advocacy groups slamming it as lacking focus, discriminatory or amounting to a Muslim ban.

Besides at JFK, protesters converged on airports in Chicago, Denver, San Francisco and Virginia to oppose the directive.

After signing three new executive actions in the Oval Office on Saturday, President Trump told reporters that the refugee order was "not a Muslim ban" and said that his administration was ready for any repercussions.

"Totally prepared," Trump said. "It's working out very nicely.

"You see it at the airports, you see it all over.

"It's working out very nicely — and we're going to have a very, very strict ban.

"We're going to have extreme vetting, which we should have had in this country for many years," Trump said.

While most Republicans praised the president's order, Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said that Trump was "right to focus attention on the obvious fact that borders matter" — though the order "is too broad."

He added that it was "not technically a Muslim ban."

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said on Twitter that he had asked Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to "rescind" the refugee order.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, also a Democrat, said Saturday that at least one family had been detained at Dulles International, which is outside Washington.

He ordered Attorney General Mark Herring investigate "all avenues we have in Virginia" to challenge Trump's order.

"Our message for the people here today this is not the United States of America that we know — and we will not tolerate it," he said.

"We are open and welcoming to everyone."

Reuters contributed to this report.

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A federal court judge in New York blocked the Trump administration from deporting people stranded in U.S. airports because of the refugee executive order President Donald Trump signed on Friday.The American Civil Liberties Union announced the nationwide action in several...
ACLU, judge, blocks, deportations, Trump, refugee, order
Sunday, 29 January 2017 08:27 AM
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