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  World   Americas  29 Jan 2017  Trump's refugee ban sparks global chaos, retaliation

Trump's refugee ban sparks global chaos, retaliation

Published : Jan 29, 2017, 12:42 am IST
Updated : Jan 29, 2017, 10:11 am IST

120-day ban also applies to Green Card holders.

Dozens of demonstrators march in and around the main terminal at Portland International Airport, Saturday. (Photo: AP)
 Dozens of demonstrators march in and around the main terminal at Portland International Airport, Saturday. (Photo: AP)

Washington: Donald Trump’s controversial immigration order that immediately led to some travellers being turned back from US-bound flights or detained at airports sparked widespread condemnation and anger, prompting the United Nations to ask the US President to continue his country’s “long tradition” of offering asylum to people fleeing war and persecution.

President Trump on Friday signed an executive order that temporarily bans the entry of Syrian refugees and limits the flow of other refugees into the United States by instituting what’s being called “extreme vetting” of immigrants.

People holding green cards are included in Mr Trump’s 120-day ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US.

Titled “Protection Of The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States,” the executive order follows Mr Trump’s promise to tighten borders and halt certain refugees from entering the United States. The move, he said, would help protect Americans from terrorist attacks.

“We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people,” Mr Trump said.

People with green cards, making them legal permanent US residents, from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen have been advised to consult immigration lawyers before travelling outside the country, or trying to return, Muslim Advocates, a civil rights group in Washington, said.

Few hours after Mr Trump signed the executive order, five Iraqi passengers and one Yemeni were barred from boarding an EgyptAir flight from Cairo to New York.

In Tehran, two travel agencies said they had been instructed by Etihad Airways, Emirates and Turkish Airlines not to sell US tickets or allow Iranians holding American visas to board US-bound flights.

In a reciprocal move, Iran on Saturday said it will ban Americans from entering the country in response to Mr Trump’s “insulting” order.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran... has decided to respond in kind after the insulting decision of the United States concerning Iranian nationals” until the measure is lifted, Iran’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

The New York Times reported that lawyers representing two Iraqi refugees detained at JFK airport had filed a legal challenge against the measure, demanding their clients be released and proposing a class action in a bid to represent all refugees and migrants affected.

The UN asked Mr Trump to continue his country’s “long tradition” of welcoming refugees and to ensure their equal treatment, regardless of race, nationality or religion. The appeal came in a joint statement from the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, and the International Organisation for Migration.

“The longstanding policy has offered a double win: first by rescuing some of the most vulnerable people in the world, and second by enabling them to enrich their new societies. The contribution of refugees and migrants to their new homes worldwide has been overwhelmingly positive,” the UN said in a statement.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai issued a memo to Google staff members currently overseas, ordering them to return to the US immediately if affected by the executive order.

In a message to employees, Mr Pichai, who grew up in India, said that it was “painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues.” At least 187 Google employees were from countries included in the ban.

“Our first order of business is to help Googlers who are affected… If you’re abroad and need help please reach out to our global security team,” he said.

Tags: donald trump, united nations, sundar pichai