Briefing: Updates: Response to Trump’s Travel Ban

by admin January 29, 2017 at 11:48 pm

New York: “Are you ready to fight for the values of this city and this country?” Mayor Bill de Blasio asked at Battery Park. A roar of “Yes!” came back from the thousands gathered.

Rehana Hashmi, 56, a human rights advocate from Pakistan, had traveled to New York from Ottawa to join the protest. “My heart is bleeding” she said. “I feel degraded.”

Demonstrators also returned to Kennedy Airport, though in smaller numbers than the thousands who gathered there on Saturday night. — TALYA MINSBERG AND JONATHAN WOLFE

Washington: Protesters gathered outside the White House in Lafayette Park to show their disapproval of the president’s executive order. One woman, a visual artist from Yemen who is working in the United States on a green card, held a sign that read, “I spit in Trump’s hummus” and wore a red, white and blue scarf around her head. — NICHOLAS FANDOS

Boston: A young woman in Copley Square held a sign that read: “Dear Donald. Me again. Marching for my immigrant husband and my Muslim friends. Back off! Claire.” Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, issued a statement saying that he was discussing with members of the academic, medical and research sectors here on how to minimize the risks that a ban on immigrants and refugees poses to their institutions. — KATHARINE Q. SEELYE

Dallas: Hundreds of protesters at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport’s international terminal passed around pizza and cookies, while children bent over poster boards and markers on the floor, making signs. Lawyers said that nine people from Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Syria were still detained at midday, and that those being held had immigrant or tourist visas. — PATRICK McGEE

Priebus says those with green cards will not be turned away

Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, seemed to soften the president’s immigration order on Sunday, saying that people who hold green cards will not be prevented from returning to the United States, even if they are from one of the seven mostly Muslim countries covered by the new travel ban.

Even so, Mr. Priebus said that border agents had “discretionary authority” to detain and question suspicious travelers from certain countries.

On Sunday, many travelers remained detained. Federal judges in four states have issued orders halting provisions of the ban.

Trump calls McCain and Graham ‘sadly weak’ for criticizing ban

President Trump struck back on Twitter at two leading Republican Senators who criticized the travel ban.

“Sadly weak on immigration,” the president said of John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who had written that they feared the ban “will become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism.”

The Senators expressed concern that the executive order “may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.” The president countered that they should focus on fighting ISIS “instead of always looking to start World War III.”

House and Senate Democrats to protest on Monday

Democratic members of the House and the Senate will gather on the steps of the Supreme Court on Monday evening to protest the travel ban, said Nancy Pelosi of California, the House minority leader.

“The president’s action is not only unconstitutional but immoral,” she said in a statement.

New York governor vows legal assistance for detainees

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said that his office would offer legal help to those detained at airports in New York.

“We have directed the Port Authority and my counsel’s office to make sure we are protecting the legal rights of any person detained at any of our airports, period,” the governor, a Democrat, said at a news conference. “We will serve as counsel for any detainee who needs legal assistance.”

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates Kennedy and La Guardia Airports.

Photo

Haider Alshawi, an Iraqi man who was detained at Kennedy International Airport in New York on Saturday night, flew on Sunday to Houston, where he was greeted by his son.

Credit
Michael Stravato for The New York Times

Some detainees at Kennedy Airport are released

Travelers being held at Kennedy Airport continued to be released on Sunday.

Yassin Abdelrhman, 76, was embraced by his son, Mohammed Suliman, 37, to cheers from onlookers that included a scrum of pro bono lawyers on Sunday. Mr. Suliman, a British citizen, had traveled to Sudan to bring his father to the United States. But while Mr. Suliman was allowed to enter the country, his father had been detained since 8 a.m. on Saturday. “I am so tired,” Mr. Suliman said. “It has been a long journey.” His father did not speak. — RUTH BASHINSKY

Vahideh Rasekhi, a Ph.D. student studying linguistics at Stony Brook University, hugged friends who greeted her as she walked out of terminal 4 after being detained since flying into Kennedy Airport at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday from Iran. When asked if she felt angry being detained she said, “I don’t feel angry right now. I am so happy it’s done.” — RUTH BASHINSKY

Haider Alshawi, 33, who also had been detained at Kennedy Airport for nearly 24 hours, was greeted by his wife and 7-year-old son in Houston on Sunday. “I’m still scared,” he said. “I’m wondering if there’s anybody waiting for me outside to grab me back again.” He is a Baghdad-born Iraqi refugee whose relatives worked for the United States government in Iraq. He lived in Stockholm for more than a year while waiting for approval to come to America and join his wife, son and other relatives in the Houston area. — MANNY FERNANDEZ

Witnesses say some airport detainees were handcuffed

Detainees at Kennedy Airport were handcuffed as they were moved from one terminal to another and were essentially denied sustenance, a lawyer said.

The lawyer, Justin Orr, said the detainees were given only chocolate and caffeine on Saturday. Some groups supporting the detainees tried to send sandwiches and water, but the authorities refused to take them, Mr. Orr said.

But Vahideh Rasekhi, a graduate student at Stony Brook University who is from Iran, said that food and water were provided. “Even someone wanted lemon, just lemon water. They went and grabbed lemon. I don’t know where they got the lemon from but they got it in like in two minutes.”

Witnesses described seeing detainees handcuffed at Dulles International Airport outside Washington. Seifollah Moradi, 34, an Iranian-American student from Columbia, Md., who has a green card and was held for six hours, said that he saw another Iranian man who had won a lottery visa handcuffed and taken away by customs officers who were moving people to an off-site detention center.

“This is not the America that I have lived in,” Mr. Moradi said. – RUTH BASHINSKY and MATTHEW ROSENBERG

In Georgia and New York, support for the ban

Notwithstanding the protests across the country, many Americans strongly support the president’s travel ban.

Billy Bearden, who works in an auto-part factory in Carrollton, Ga., said he was “glad and thankful” that President Trump was making a “serious effort to vet these individuals.”

Mr. Bearden, 52, said on Sunday that he was sympathetic to the circumstances of people living in war-torn countries, but that he couldn’t shake the fear of another terrorist attack, like those in Boston, Orlando and San Bernardino, Calif..

“Sadly, for whatever reason, it seems that the majority of terrorists worldwide seem to be of the Muslim faith,” he said, adding: “The mad rush to bring them in at all costs actually is not a good thing. If it turns out that they are decent, peace loving individuals, then certainly I got no problem with them, even living on my street.”

On Long Island, Kathleen Ganci, the widow of the highest ranking New York City Fire Department official killed on Sept. 11, held a similar view.

“Do I want them banned forever? Of course not, “ said Ms. Ganci, whose husband, Chief of Department Peter J. Ganci Jr., was crushed in the collapse of 1 World Trade Center. “There’s many, many fine Muslim people in this world, but there’s many many people who want to kill us, and we need to vet them, and we need to find out.”

She added: “We should be wiser and smarter, and I think we haven’t been over the last eight years — we’re so idealistic — not necessarily the people affected, but the people who aren’t affected. Walk in my shoes, is my point. You can’t just let people into this country because you have a big heart.” — CAITLIN DICKERSON and ANDY NEWMAN

Olympic gold medalist opposes Trump order

Mo Farah, the Olympic gold medal runner who was born in Somalia, grew up in Britain and has lived in the United States for six years, took to Facebook to criticize the president’s ban:

“On 1st January this year, Her Majesty The Queen made me a Knight of the Realm,” he wrote. “On 27th January, President Donald Trump seems to have made me an alien.”

Mr. Farah, who won gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, and who lives in Oregon, continued:

I am a British citizen who has lived in America for the past six years — working hard, contributing to society, paying my taxes and bringing up our four children in the place they now call home. Now, me and many others like me are being told that we may not be welcome. It’s deeply troubling that I will have to tell my children that Daddy might not be able to come home — to explain why the President has introduced a policy that comes from a place of ignorance and prejudice.

I was welcomed into Britain from Somalia at eight years old and given the chance to succeed and realise my dreams. I have been proud to represent my country, win medals for the British people and receive the greatest honour of a knighthood. My story is an example of what can happen when you follow policies of compassion and understanding, not hate and isolation.

The president’s executive order bars visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Somalia. It is unclear whether the travel ban applies to Mr. Farah.

The ban could have a major effect on international sports.

Uber is drawn into conflict

The ride-hailing app Uber on Saturday was drawn into the conflict over Mr. Trump’s executive order after the company told its customers that surge pricing had been turned off at Kennedy Airport, where protesters had gathered.

Some interpreted the alert, which was issued over the company’s Twitter account, as an attempt to attract business after the New York Taxi Workers’ Alliance announced a one-hour work stoppage to protest Mr. Trump’s order.

Uber quickly clarified, saying that the announcement was not meant to affect the strike. In a statement, the company’s chief executive, Travis Kalanick, said that drivers outside the United States affected by the ban would be compensated by Uber for three months. The statement did not specify what that compensation would be.

Despite Mr. Kalanick’s efforts, however, the battle lines had already been drawn. A social media campaign calling for users to delete the Uber app from their cellphones was soon underway.

Using the hashtag #deleteuber, Twitter users posted screenshots of their phones as they deleted their apps. By Sunday, Uber’s competitor Lyft, perhaps sensing an opportunity, announced in a letter to customers that it had donated $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union.

And even as Uber said it was not responding to the move by taxi drivers, some came to the company’s defense. Roger Stone, a longtime Republican operative and a political adviser to Mr. Trump, posted on Twitter in support of Uber, calling the protests “manufactured outrage.”

— JONAH ENGEL BROMWICH

New York congressman praises ban

While several members of New York’s congressional delegation have been involved in helping travelers detained at Kennedy Airport, one Republican Congressman, Lee Zeldin, said he supported Mr. Trump’s executive order.

“Every American has sympathy for the innocent person who is looking to come to America for a better life, but the process must without exception prioritize America’s national security first,” Mr. Zeldin, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who represents parts of Long Island, said in a statement.

“We cannot allow someone entry until we know for sure they will not pose a risk,” he said. “The ultimate humanitarian victory is to assist with efforts to stabilize these nations and eliminate the threats there to peace.” — DIEGO RIBADENEIRA

Trump on execution of Middle East Christians: ‘Cannot allow this horror’

The president took to Twitter this morning to justify his order giving priority to Christian refugees from mostly Muslim countries. That provision has been criticized from across the religious spectrum, including by Christian leaders.

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