Immigrants who were on a plane to the U.S. when Trump signed his executive order to outlaw refugees entering the country on Friday were detained upon landing.
The executive order that forbade refugees from entering this country for 120 days was immediately put into effect, leaving an unknown number of refugees who were travelling to the U.S. in abeyance , according to the NY Times. The attorneys of two Iraqi immigrants who were detained at the Kennedy Airport in NY immediately filed lawsuits.
“We’ve never had an issue once one of our clients was at a port of entry in the United States,” said Mark Doss, one of the lawyers, for The New York Times. “To see people being detained indefinitely in the country that’s supposed to welcome them is a total shock.”
Trump’s executive order also forbids admission of refugees from Syria indefinitely, and outlaws anyone from the countries of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen from coming in the country for 90 days. This order enables for exceptions to be granted on a case by case basis, according to the “national interest,” and sets up a law of prioritizing Christian immigrants and other refugees of a minority religion in their country over Muslim immigrants.
The attorneys representing their two detained Iraqi clients, Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, said for The New York Times that they were forbidden to meet with their clients when they found out they had been detained. When they asked who they can talk to about this issue, a Customs and Border Protection agent allegedly told them to “call Mr. Trump.” They filed a writ of habeas corpus on Saturday in New York demanding that their clients be freed, and filed a motion for class certification so that they could represent all refugees and immigrants who claim they are being illegally confined.
“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 U.S. and now are being unlawfully detained,” said Doss for the NYT.
Darweesh worked for the U.S. government in Iraq for 10 years, and Sameer had worked for a U.S. contractor, said the attorneys. The objections were filed by an organization including the American Civil Liberties Union, a law firm and the International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center.
Trump’s order underlines his authority as president to secure the country from terror assaults by foreign nationals in the order, as well as the power vested to him that is explicitly outlined in the Immigration and Nationality Act to deny entry of any foreign national deemed “detrimental” to the U.S.
“Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate,” reads the 1952 law.
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