The US President signed an executive order that also paused the entry of travellers from Syria indefinitely and Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen nations for at least 90 days.

 US President Donald Trump signs an executive order which he said would impose tighter vetting to prevent foreign terrorists from entering the United States at the Pentagon in Washington, January 27, 2017.
US President Donald Trump signs an executive order which he said would impose tighter vetting to prevent foreign terrorists from entering the United States at the Pentagon in Washington, January 27, 2017.

Trump signed an executive order that also indefinitely paused entry of travellers from Syria and for 90 days six other Muslim-majority nations: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

Immigration lawyers trying to help people getting into the United States faced a stonewall from border authorities, according to an exchange related to the New York Times

"Who is the person we need to talk to?" Mark Doss, an attorney International Refugee Assistance Project, asked a US Customs and Border Patrol agent, who declined to provide his name. 

"Mr. President," he told Doss. "Call Mr. Trump."

On Friday afternoon, visitors and permanent residents of the United States, some who have lived in the country for years, were turned away at the border by authorities in the minutes after Trump signed the order. 

"If they are already on the plane, they will not be able to enter," Abed Ayoub of the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee told the New York Daily News. 

"We had a few folks land who landed right around the time the order was issued, who were permitted to go through. I guess it was the luck of the draw."

Green card holders, permanent residents of the United States who are not full citizens, are receiving extra interrogation.

"US Border patrol is deciding reentry for green card holders on a case by case basis - questions abt political views, chking facebook, etc," tweeted immigration lawyer Mana Yegani. 

​Trump said his administration needed time to develop more stringent screening processes for refugees, immigrants and visitors.

Observers on Twitter saw a serious risk for civil liberties for all. 

But the United Nations High Commission on Refugees UNHCR and International Organisation for Migration (IOM) called on the Trump administration on Saturday to continue offering asylum to people fleeing war and persecution, saying its resettlement programme was vital.

"The needs of refugees and migrants worldwide have never been greater and the U.S. resettlement program is one of the most important in the world," the two Geneva-based agencies said in a joint statement. 

"We strongly believe that refugees should receive equal treatment for protection and assistance, and opportunities for resettlement, regardless of their religion, nationality or race," they said.

TRT World's Oliver Whitfield-Miocic reports.

"I'm establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. Don't want them here," Trump said earlier on Friday at the Pentagon.

"We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people," he said.

Trump's order also suspends the Syrian refugee program until further notice, and will eventually give priority to minority religious groups fleeing persecution.

Trump said in an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), an evangelical news outlet, that the exception would help Syrian Christians fleeing the civil war there.

The bans, though temporary, took effect immediately, causing havoc and confusion for would-be travelers with passports from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Legal experts were divided on whether this order would be constitutional.

"If they are thinking about an exception for Christians, in almost any other legal context discriminating in favour of one religion and against another religion could violate the constitution," said Stephen Legomsky, a former chief counsel at US Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Obama administration.

Democrats on Friday were quick to condemn Trump's order as un-American, saying it would tarnish the reputation of the United States as a land that welcomes immigrants.

"Today's executive order from President Trump is more about extreme xenophobia than extreme vetting," said Democratic Senator Edward Markey in a statement.


Source: TRT World