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Here's What We Know About Trump's Refugee Ban

By  Michael P. Ventura and Janon Fisher | January 30, 2017 3:12pm 

 Confusion hit John F. Kennedy Airport and the nation this weekend as President Donald Trump's crackdown on refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries took effect.
Confusion hit John F. Kennedy Airport and the nation this weekend as President Donald Trump's crackdown on refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries took effect.
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DNAinfo/Noah Hurowitz

NEW YORK CITY — Confusion hit John F. Kennedy Airport and the nation this weekend as President Donald Trump's crackdown on refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries took effect.

DNAinfo New York has compiled this explainer to help readers sort through the complicated and fast-moving events touched off by Trump's executive order.

How many people are still being detained at the airport?

A group of volunteer lawyers who have been working to free detainees said that one person who was detained over the weekend has been released, but that two more people have reportedly been detained by federal authorities at JFK airport as of Monday afternoon.

One of those detainees is from Iraq, according to the lawyers, who did not know the country of origin of the other person.

There is no official list providing an accurate count of those in detention, so numbers will fluctuate as information becomes available.

Will more people be detained as they fly in?

Unclear. The U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security said they are "working closely with airline partners to prevent travelers who would not be granted entry under the executive orders from boarding international flights to the U.S. Therefore, we do not anticipate that further individuals traveling by air to the United States will be affected."

Officials said Tuesday that 872 refugees would be processed and allowed into the country by Feb. 5. 

Who is affected by Trump's executive order?

Trump's executive order:

♦ Blocks "immigrant and nonimmigrant entry" for people from seven predominantly-Muslim nations: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

♦ Blocks entry for all refugees from Syria indefinitely.

♦ Blocks refugees from other countries for 120 days.

♦ Limits the number of refugees to be allowed into the U.S. from any country in 2017 to 50,000 total.

♦ Prioritizes refugees who claim to be fleeing religious persecution, particularly if they live in a country where their religion is the minority.

Travelers to the U.S. can also check cbp.gov for updated government information on who is impacted by the order. 

Where can I read Trump's executive order?

President Trump Executive Order by DNAinfoNewYork on Scribd

Why did the enforcement of the ban change this weekend?

Judge Ann Donnelly, of the Eastern District of New York, issued a stay Saturday night that prevented U.S. immigration officials from deporting anyone trying to enter the country with valid visas and paperwork. 

Where can I read the judge's ruling?

Judge Donnelly Order by DNAinfoNewYork on Scribd

Does the executive order apply to people with green cards?

The U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security said "the entry of lawful permanent residents is in the national interest. Accordingly, absent significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in our case-by-case determinations." However, according to lawyers and detainees, people with green cards are being detained.

How does the executive order affect people with dual citizenship?

Travelers to the United States with dual citizenship will be assessed based on the passport they present, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection department.

Why did President Trump issue the order?

The president says he sees vetting foreign visitors as key to curbing terror attacks on U.S. soil, but a difficult process in practice. In his executive order, Trump cited the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. as the rationale for curbing travel from the seven countries. However, the terrorists involved in 9/11 were not from any of the countries on the ban list. The 15 Hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. "The United States must be vigilant during the visa-issuance process to ensure that those approved for admission do not intend to harm Americans and that they have no ties to terrorism." The executive order also seeks to ban travelers who "engage in acts of bigotry or hate," including violence against women, religious persecution and oppression against Americans of any race, gender or sexual orientation. According to a Cato Institute study, a libertarian think tank, there is a 1 in 3.6 billion chance of being killed in America by a refugee terrorist.


Why are people protesting the order?

Many New Yorkers and elected officials believe the orders are not only anti-immigrant, but unconstitutional and un-American. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's tweet summed up that sentiment:

The ACLU has also argued that the executive order violates immigrants' rights to due process under the law, and that it discriminates them on the basis of their religion, which is also unconstitutional.

How will the federal courts affect the executive order?

There were dozens of travelers detained at JFK airport under the executive order, as many as 52 travelers by some counts. Of those about 20 people filed suit in Brooklyn Federal Court from Saturday to Sunday calling the detention unconstitutional and demanding to be released. The first case filed on behalf of Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, two Iraqi nationals who had worked for the American military, resulted in the judge's ruling staying the deportation of any travelers detained under the executive order. The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the suit on behalf of the two Iraqis, is seeking class action status in the case to prevent others from being similarly targeted. The cases have been assigned to Judge Carol Amon.

Motion for Class Certification by DNAinfoNewYork on Scribd

►What Are local politicians doing about the travel ban?

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman joined with 15 other attorney generals from around the country in a vow to fight the travel ban.

“As the chief legal officers for over 130 million Americans and foreign residents of our states, we condemn President Trump's unconstitutional, un-American and unlawful Executive Order," the group, which included AG’s from California, Pennsylvania and Oregon, wrote.

Schneiderman also sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security and the Customs Border Protection to make sure they were complying with various temporary restraining orders.

DHS has since announced at they would comply with the injunctions.

"However, we continue to press both DHS and CBP to provide a full list of those who are currently detained and allow them access to legal service providers," said Schneiderman's Press Secretary Amy Spitalnick.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered the Port Authority, the Department of State and his counsel to make sure the legal rights of refugees and others were protected.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is minority leader, was pushing an effort to overturn the travel ban but may not have enough votes. Trump mocked Schumer for tearing up while talking about the ban.

► What's next?

It's unclear at the moment. Refresh this page for updates.