Federal judge bars deporting travelers with valid visas
A federal court in Brooklyn tonight granted an emergency stay on President Trump’s executive order that bans immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries for two Iraqi men who had valid visas to enter the United States but were detained today when they arrived in New York.
Trump’s order calls for an immediate suspension of immigration from countries with ties to terror, including Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and Libya, for a time period of 90 days. It also calls for the complete suspension of Syrian refugees for an indefinite period.
The ACLU, which had filed the challenge on behalf of the two men, contended that the stay applied nationally to all cases, but that was not clear from the ruling. ABC News was attempting to clarify whether that was the case.
The ruling does not appear to overturn administration policy, but does appear to apply to all of those people currently detained at airports across the country who were facing imminent deportation. The judge asked repeated questions of the federal prosecutors charged with defending the executive order, but they were unable to provide numbers of people who were facing the prospect of returning to a country where there lives would be in danger.
The order came as protests spread to airports across the country, after after at least 27 passengers were detained or sent home from four different airports, and hundreds of people around the world were barred from boarding U.S.-bound flights.
Hundreds of people turned out at John F. Kennedy International Airport to protest the president’s order, chanting “No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here. No hate, no fear, Musims are welcome here.”
In New York, the protesters received statements of support from local politicians, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sen. Chuck Schumer.
Hundreds also gathered outside the Brooklyn federal courthouse where the emergency hearing was called on the ACLU’s legal challenge brought on behalf of the two Iraqi men who were detained at JFK Airport this morning. The two men were targeted for their assistance or connections to the U.S. military and were approved for resettlement in the United States.
The two Iraqis who were detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City have been released, according to officials, but 10 people were still detained at the airport, the officials said. Other passengers were detained or sent home from Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, and Philadelphia International Airport, according to officials in those cities.
One of the Iraqis detained at JFK, Hameed Jhalid Darweesh, was released early today and left with New York Reps. Nydia Velazquez and Jerry Nadler, who joined more than 100 protesters that assembled there. The other, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq, was released Saturday evening, shortly before the order from the federal court for the Eastern District of New York.
Darweesh expressed his gratitude for those who supported him while he was detained.
“America is the land of freedom,” Darweesh said. “The land of freedom, the land of the rights. This is what brought me to come here, and I’m very thankful.”