President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning refugee entry, effective immediately. The decision stunned refugees who were being stopped and detained when they landed in the country.
The order suspending all refugee entry for 120 days put an undetermined number of refugees who were on airplanes when it was signed in legal limbo. This led lawyers for two Iraqi refugees who were detained when they landed at Kennedy Airport in New York to immediately file legal challenges.
“We’ve never had an issue once one of our clients was at a port of entry in the United States,” one of the lawyers, Mark Doss, said. “To see people being detained indefinitely in the country that’s supposed to welcome them is a total shock.”
Trump’s order also bans admission of refugees from Syria indefinitely, and prohibits anyone from the countries of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen from entering the country for 90 days.
“We’ve taken in tens of thousands of people. We know nothing about them,” Trump said. “They can say they vet them. They didn’t vet them. They have no papers. How can you vet somebody when you don’t know anything about them and you have no papers?”
However, exceptions can be made according to the “national interest,” which establishes a policy of prioritizing Christian refugees and other refugees of a minority religion in their country over Muslims.
The lawyers representing the two detained Iraqis, Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, filed a writ of habeas corpus early Saturday in New York demanding their clients be released, and filed a motion for class certification so that they might represent all refugees and immigrants who say they are being unlawfully detained.
Trump’s order cites his authority as President to protect the country from terror attacks, as well as the power granted to him that is explicitly outlined in the Immigration and Nationality Act to refuse entry of any foreign national deemed “detrimental” to U.S. interests, reports The Daily Caller.
“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,” the 1952 law states.
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