Over a hundred people who were detained in United States airports were spared immediate deportation after a federal judge ruled that sending travellers home could cause the “irreparable harm”, lawyers say.
The lawyers sued to block President Donald Trumps’ order to block Syrian refugees from entering the U.S.
Mr. Trump on Friday signed an executive order stopping refugees fleeing killings in Syria to from entering the U.S. indefinitely.
The order, which he said will keep “radical Islamic terrorists” from entering the country, will also give priority entry attention to Christians and other minority religious groups from predominantly Muslim countries like Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Iran, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.
“We don’t want them here. We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas. We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country, and love deeply our people,” he said.
But on Saturday, volunteer lawyers were frantically rushing to airports across the country to give legal aid to refugees trapped by the order and awaiting deportation.
Ann Donnelly, a judge of the District Court in Brooklyn, New York, ruled around 9 p.m. local time, stopping the implementation of the order. The government was “enjoined and restrained from, in any manner and by any means, removing individuals” already in the U.S. with valid visas and refugee status.
The ruling, however, did not appear to stop the Trump administration from stopping those who are yet to enter U.S. territory.
The judge gave the one-page ruling after the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, a nonpartisan human rights organisation, told the court that one of the refugees detained at an airport was being put in a plane to be deported to Syria.
According to the New York Times, hundreds of protesters had gathered outside the court chanting “set them free!”
Minutes after the New York’s ruling, another judge in the Federal District Court of Virginia, handed another ruling temporarily stopping the deportation of any green card holder being detained at Dulles International Airport.
“We’ve gotten reports of people being detained all over the country. They’re literally pouring in by the minute,” Becca Heller, the director of the International Refugee Assistance Project, told the New York Times.
But Mr. Trump doesn’t appear to be perturbed by the chaotic scenes at the country’s airports.
“It’s not a Muslim ban, but we were totally prepared. It’s working out very nicely. You see it at the airports, you see it all over,” he said at the White House.
Several legal residents of the U.S. who holds green cards were being stopped in foreign airports as they return from funerals, vacations or study abroad, the New York Times claimed.
On Saturday, American Homeland Security said 109 people who were already in transit to the U.S. when the order came into effect were not allowed into the country. It also stated that 173 people were stopped from boarding planes heading to the U.S. However, 81, who were stopped eventually got waivers to enter the U.S.
Iran bans U.S. Citizens
Meanwhile, Iran has responded to the ban on its citizens from entering the US with a ban of its own.
“While respecting the American people and distinguishing between them and the hostile policies of the U.S. government, Iran will implement the principle of reciprocity until the offensive U.S. limitations against Iranian nationals are lifted,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.
“The restrictions against travel by Muslims to America… are an open affront against the Muslim world and the Iranian nation in particular and will be known as a great gift to extremists,” the statement added.