The White House on Sunday appeared to back down on a key part of President Trump’s tough new immigration order, signaling that travelers trying to enter the country from seven banned countries will be allowed in if they hold green cards.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said that these legal permanent residents are exempt from the travel ban “moving forward,” even though over the weekend other administration officials said the rule did apply to them.
The apparent reversal came amid a national controversy over the new Trump order that temporarily halts the entry of all refugees to the U.S. and any traveler from seven majority Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Barring individuals fleeing persecution from entering the United States is simply inhumane. Adding irony to injury, Trump’s executive order was issued on Holocaust Remembrance Day, which should have been an occasion to atone for turning away refugees during the 1930s—some of whom then died in concentration camps. For example, in 1939, the United States turned away the St. Louis, a boat filled with refugees, many of them German Jews. According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 254 passengers from the St. Louis died in the Holocaust.
Tech executives had been mostly quiet for the first week of Donald Trump's presidency — but that changed after his controversial executive order restricting refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Executive after executive spent Saturday tweeting and posting messages to Facebook decrying the administration's actions. Lyft co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green went a step further: On Sunday, they announced they would donate $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union over the next four years.
“Banning people of a particular faith or creed, race or identity, sexuality or ethnicity, from entering the U.S. is antithetical to both Lyft and our nation’s core values,” the co-founders wrote in an email to Lyft customers. “We stand firmly against the actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the value of our community."
We stand firmly against the actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the value of our community.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that the U.S. should not impose a religious test on people seeking to enter the country, in part because to do so would alienate key allies in the fight against terrorism.
“Some of our best sources in the war against radical Islamic terrorism are Muslims, both in this country and overseas,” McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a morning interview with ABC’s Martha Raddatz.
McConnell praised President Trump for ramping up the vetting of people trying to enter the country, but warned against singling out Muslims for exclusion.
President Trump is revamping the advisory circle of national security experts in his White House, and the new configuration reflects the sharp rise of his controversial aide Steve Bannon.
Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, is now invited to sit in on all meetings of the National Security Council, while key experts like the director of national intelligence and chairman of the joint military chiefs will only participate when specifically summoned.
The decision is raising questions in national security circles. Bannon is the former head of the right-wing Breitbart News website who declared last week that the news media should be considered “the opposition party” during the Trump era. Bannon was a key link for Trump with the nationalist “alt-right” movement during the campaign.
A U.S. special operations commando was killed and three others injured in a firefight during a predawn raid on Al Qaeda fighters in central Yemen, according to the U.S. military.
The raid marked the first known counterterrorism operation and first confirmed combat fatality under President Trump.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our elite service members,” Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of the U.S. Central Command, said in a statement. “The sacrifices are very profound in our fight against terrorists who threaten innocent peoples across the globe.”
After a day of chaos at airports around the world, a federal judge in Brooklyn on Saturday night stayed deportations under President Trump’s executive order barring citizens of some Muslim countries from entering the United States.
U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly ordered a halt to any removal of refugees or others who hold valid visas to enter the United States—meaning those who have arrived at U.S. airports from the seven predominantly Muslim countries named under the President’s executive order can remain, for now.
The judge did not rule on the legality of the executive order, nor did she say that others who have not yet arrived in the U.S. can be allowed to proceed.
At least 10 to 15 immigration attorneys have gathered at the Tom Bradley international terminal at LAX to help travelers, mostly from Iran, who have been detained, one of the attorneys said.
Attorneys have not yet been able to determine the number of fliers detained, as U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials are not allowing attorneys or families any communication with the detainees, said immigration attorney Jordan Cunnings.
"We're literally walking around asking people, are you waiting for someone who has been detained?" said Cunnings, describing a scene of worried family members who had arrived bearing flowers and welcome signs for their loved ones.
Thousand of New Yorkers headed out to John F. Kennedy airport Saturday evening to protest President Trump’s new executive order turning back refugees and other visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
Word of the spontaneous demonstration was spread across social media, with activists like filmmaker Michael Moore calling out “Everybody in NYC area--- head to JFK Terminal 4 NOW.” By late afternoon, it appeared that more than 2,000 had heeded the call to protest, to the dismay of airport security struggling to keep the terminal clear for travelers.
Trump wants us at war w/ the entire Muslim world. Who wants to die for Donald J. Trump? Do YOU want 2 die 4 Trump? Everyone to JFK demo now!
One group chanted, “Let them in.” Another read out loud from the Emma Lazarus poem inscribed in the base of the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free ....’’
Iranian officials called the new U.S. limits on refugees and travelers from several predominantly Muslim countries a “clear insult to the Islamic world” and predicted the ban would be “a great gift to extremists and their supporters.”
In a statement on the Foreign Ministry website, the government of Iran vowed unspecified retaliatory measures and emphasized that the international community “needs dialogue and cooperation to address the roots of violence and extremism in a comprehensive and inclusive manner.”
Iran is one of seven countries—also including Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Syria and Iraq—whose residents are temporarily prevented from entering the United States until a new “extreme vetting” procedure can be put into place.