WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on President Donald Trump, his travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries and other immigration actions (all times EST):
A senior U.S. official says 872 refugees will be allowed into the United States this week despite the Trump administration executive order suspending the U.S. refugees program.
Kevin McAleenan, acting commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, said these refugees would be granted waivers. He said that was allowed for under the order, in instances where refugees were ready for travel and stopping them would cause “undue hardship.”
McAleenan said this was being done in concert with the State Department. He said 872 refugees will be arriving this week and will processed for waivers through the end of the week.
He was speaking at a news conference Tuesday about the administration’s new immigration restrictions, which also suspends arrival by nationals from seven predominantly Muslim nations.
France’s prime minister is criticizing U.S. President Donald Trump’s three-month immigration ban on refugees from Muslim countries as being useless in the fight against terrorism.
Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Tuesday that Trump’s decision “only aims at exacerbating tensions, creating potential conflicts” and “in the end, the greatest inefficiency regarding results in the fight against terrorism.”
Cazeneuve, who was interior minister in 2015 and 2016 when deadly terror attacks were carried out by Islamic extremists in France, said the government reinforced its counterterrorism law and boosted security forces while preserving “national unity” and the values of the country.
He says the U.S. ban “is useless because it ostracizes some countries” and “makes it impossible to welcome people who are persecuted in their country and need protection from free nations.”
The Netherlands’ firebrand anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders has clashed in Parliament with the Dutch foreign minister over U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban for people from seven Muslim nations.
In a debate Tuesday, Wilders – seen by many as a Dutch equivalent of Trump – paid tribute to the new U.S. leader, saying, “Finally America has a president, finally a country in the West has a president, who not only lives up to his promises but who says ‘the freedom of my citizens is more important than anything.'”
Foreign Minister Bert Koenders hit back, saying, “If you want to fight terror, then the worst thing you can do is trample human rights.”
The Dutch government has updated its travel advisory for the U.S. to warn of the effects of Trump’s new policy on Dutch citizens who have dual nationality with one of the seven nations affected.
The leaders of Germany and Sweden are decrying the immigration restrictions imposed by President Donald Trump and both say they’re seeking more clarity on how citizens will be affected.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said that “the fight against terrorism does not justify such general action against particular countries and people of a particular faith.” Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven called the move “counterproductive” and “totally unacceptable.”
The two leaders were speaking at a press conference in Stockholm Tuesday.
Merkel also stressed Germany’s commitment to the independence of the European Central Bank and trading “in fair competition with everyone else” on world markets.
That came after Peter Navarro, who is to lead a new White House council on trade, was quoted in the Financial Times as saying that Germany is using a “grossly undervalued” euro to “exploit” the U.S. and its European partners.
Iran’s foreign minister has reiterated that Iran will no longer issue visas for Americans, describing the decision as a “counter-action” to Trump’s executive order banning nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, from entering the United States.
Mohammad Javad Zarif added that “if there is an exception, it will be reviewed through the mechanism which has been created in the Foreign Ministry.”
Zarif spoke to the “Khorasan daily” on Tuesday on the sidelines of a joint press conference with his visiting French counterpart, Jean-Marc Ayrault.
About 5 million tourists visit Iran each year, most of them coming from Iraq and other neighboring countries. Europeans have also been coming to Iran, but Americans represent far less than 1 percent of the total – or about 50,000 – and are subjected to rigorous background checks.
Zarif first announced the reciprocal move by Tehran on Saturday, when Trump’s visa restrictions took effect. At the time, he said Iran’s ban will not be retroactive and that all Americans with already valid Iranian visas “will be gladly welcomed.”
Iran’s oil minister says there is no ban on American companies working in Iran’s oil industry.
The semi-official ILNA news agency on Tuesday is quoting Bijan Zanganeh as saying: “American companies face no ban for entering our oil industry.”
However, Zanganeh said American companies “have not directly applied” to work in Iran’s oil industry, so far.
This is the first such remark by Iran after an executive order by U.S. president Donald Trump on Friday banned immigration and visa processing for Iranians alongside six other Muslim countries.
In January, Iran’s Oil Ministry published a list of 29 international companies qualified to bid for oil and gas projects following the lifting of sanctions under a landmark nuclear accord that went into effect last year.
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