As Donald Trump’s “Christian” Nation bans Muslims from entering America, British citizens share

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Donald Trump holds up an executive order after signing it in the Pentagon

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*Trump contradicts US’ Christian traditions – German FM Gabriel

*Welcoming refugees fleeing war, oppression our duty – France FM

*Luxembourg: US President action’ll earn Europe Muslim World mistrust

*Downing Street scrambling, as uproar triggered among UK MPs

*US Democrats decry policy, say anti-Muslim ban un-American

*Google recalls staff unhappy over development

*Canadian Justin Trudeau tells refugees ‘Canada will take you’

*Inconsistencies in Trump administration’s claims – Telegraph reports

By Kemi Kasumu with Agencies reports

“Welcoming refugees who flee war and oppression is part of our duty,” said  Jean-Marc Ayrault, the French foreign minister said, speaking at a joint news conference in Paris with  Sigmar Gabriel, his German counterpart…”The United States is a country where Christian traditions have an important meaning. Loving your neighbour is a major Christian value and that includes helping people,” said Mr Gabriel…Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister, said Trump’s order would have negative consequences: “The American president is dividing the Muslim world into good and evil with this.  The decision is also bad for Europe because it will increase the Muslim world’s mistrust and hatred of the West.”

British citizens travelling to America on UK passports will be blocked from entering if they have dual-citizenship with countries targeted in Donald Trump’s ban on refugees, reports say.

The new ban signed by United’s President, Mr. Donald Trump, stops Muslims and citizens from certain Muslim-Majority countries from gaining entrance into America.

Shortly after his inauguration following the deletion of Gay Marriage rights from America’s legal document, Trump had reportedly declared America as a Christian Nation that must therefore not accommodate Gay rights, which is generally ungodly and agreeable to both Muslims and Christians across the globe.

What is unacceptable to all is the anti-Muslims policy of the new President which he actualised in his new endorsement of the Muslims’ ban.

President Trump, according to commentators, had done nothing surprising being he had, right from his electioneering campaigns, made himself clear as he boldly stated his hate for Muslims and that he would never allow them to enter America if he was voted in as President.

Although his declaration up to inauguration on January 20 was greeted by violent protests, fulfillment of Trump’s campaign promises has been described as inevitable hence the signing of the anti-Muslims policy.

According a statement by the US State Department, Britons with dual nationality with Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen will be stopped at the US border for the next 90 days, meaning that only seven Muslim-majority countries are affected.  A further statement said the refusal of entry into US of citizens of the seven listed countries is just the beginning as more policies would be unfolded.

However, in a separate development last night, a US judge issued a temporary halt on the deportation of people who had already arrived in the US with valid visa but were being denied entry at border control.

The revelation about Britons sent Downing Street scrambling for a response and has triggered uproar among MPs.

Politicians said tens of thousands of Britons could be caught up in the border chaos as Mr Trump’s new immigration rules hit holidays and business trips.

It was unclear last night whether Theresa May was aware that the rules change would affect Britons despite spending hours meeting Mr Trump and his top staff in the White House on Friday.

The US State Department said: “Travellers who have nationality or dual nationality of one of these countries will not be permitted for 90 days to enter the United States or be issued an immigrant or non-immigrant visa.

“Those nationals or dual nationals holding valid immigrant or non-immigrant visas will not be permitted to enter the United States during this period. Visa interviews will generally not be scheduled for nationals of these countries during this period.”

Mrs May had twice refused to publicly condemn Mr Trump’s ban on refugees from those seven countries earlier in the day during a press conference in Turkey.

“The United States is responsible for the United States’s policy on refugees,” she said after being pressed a second time to condemn the border tightening.

Tory MPs expressed their “heartbreak” at the development last night and called for Mr Trump to urgently overturn the policy.

Nadhim Zahawi, the MP for Stratford-on-Avon who was born in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, said he feared he would be caught up in the ban.

“Just think of all the families who will feel like second-class citizens now,” he told the Telegraph.

“I love the US, I love everything it stands for, but I cannot believe this is happening to British citizens in 2017.

“Words cannot describe my sadness. I feel devastated. I would like clarity and a rethink on this. It is a terrible message to the world. I am heartbroken.”

The Foreign Office, Number 10 and the Home Office all refused to comment when asked about the rule change on Saturday.

A Government source said: “We are working really closely with the State Department on this.”

Latest figures show that more than 250,000 people who were born in Iraq, Iran and Somalia have dual British nationality.

No figures are available for those born in Syria, Libya, Sudan or Yemen.

There was chaos and confusion at airports in the US on Saturday, as customs officials sought to implement the executive order that prevents entry to Syrians indefinitely, all other refugees for four months and bans travellers from seven Middle Eastern countries.

“I’m establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America,” Mr Trump said as he signed the order at the Pentagon. “Don’t want them here.”

But in a fresh development on Saturday night, a federal judge in Brooklyn put part of the order on hold when he ruled that the US could not deport people after they had landed at US airports with valid visas.

Even as several foreign governments condemned the decision, Mrs May, who has sought to develop close ties with Mr Trump, avoided criticising the president’s actions.

After being asked three times if she condemned the decision to ban families fleeing slaughter in war zones, Mrs May said: “The United States is responsible for the United States’ policy on refugees.”

Lawyers and human rights groups took legal action, filing lawsuits which argued that the orders went against the spirit of the US constitution and the letter of American law.

The order, which came into force as soon as Mr Trump signed it on Friday afternoon, requires US border officials to turn away any person arriving from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen for the next 90 days, whether or not they have a green card.

With only a few exceptions for diplomats and dual citizens, the order takes no account of whether travellers have already been issued with visas. The ban will also apply to flight crew.

In announcing his “extreme vetting” plan, Mr Trump invoked the  Sept 11, 2001 attacks. However, most of the 19 plane hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon – all countries not included on the ban list.

Within hours of the order being signed, chaos broke out at airports around the world as officials sought to understand and interpret the new policies.

Mohammed Al Rawi, a graduate of California State University and former journalist with the Los Angeles Times, said his father had been hauled off a flight in Qatar as a direct result of Mr Trump’s decision.

“My 71-year-old dad is in Qatar boarding LAX flight to come visit us and he’s being sent back to Iraq. Some US official told him that Trump cancelled all visas,” he wrote on Facebook hours after the order was signed.

Five Iraqi passengers and one Yemeni were barred from boarding an Egypt Air flight from Cairo to New York on Saturday.

Some airlines have warned that all passengers whose journeys began in any of the seven countries may be affected, even if their own citizenship is not on the “banned” list.

An Iranian film director nominated for an Oscar won’t be able to attend the ceremony in the wake of the orders, it was reported.

Asghar Farhadi is nominated for Best Foreign Language Film for The Salesman, which tells of a couple whose relationship is thrown into disarray after an intruder surprises her in the shower.  Mr Farhadi also won an Oscar in 2012 for his film A Separation.

Hamaseh Tayari, a UK resident who holds an Iranian passport, who had been on holiday  in Costa Rica, found she was unable to board her plane back to Glasgow because her flight went via New York. She found her transit visa had been revoked.

Ms Tayari, who grew up in Italy and works as a vet in the UK, told The Guardian she had never experienced anything like this.

“I want people to know that this is not just happening to refugees,” she said. “I am a graduate and I have a PhD. It has happened to a person who is working and who pays tax.”

Matt Zellar, an army captain who runs No One Left Behind, a charity that seeks to bring to the US Afghanis and Iraqis who worked with the US military in their countries, said the bans had caused their programmes to be suspended.

Mr Zellar works with people who have been placed on death lists by the Taliban, Isil or other extremist organisations for the time they spent working with the US military.

He told the Telegraph that the process of getting these men and their families into America had always been laborious, sometimes taking them up to five years to obtain a visa. But the executive order was forcing him mostly to suspend the programme.

“Some have been waiting years, moving night by night and living away from their families to escape death squads,” Mr Zellar said. “This closes out their last hope. Heroes and patriots who saved American lives are going to die for their service to us.”

The executive order includes a potential loophole that says the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a “case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked”.

But Mr Zellar said repeated efforts to reach the White House to get permission to apply this to former US military employees had failed. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

The order also sparked concern in the business world.

Google recalled all travelling staff members to the US following the order and warned of the possible impact on recruiting top talent abroad.

“We’ll continue to make our views on these issues known to leaders in Washington and elsewhere,” a Google spokesman said.

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, wrote in a post yesterday that he would be working with Fwd US, a charity he supports, to develop protection for child immigrants brought to the US at a young age by their parents.

Iran said it would stop US citizens entering the country in retaliation to Washington’s visa ban, calling it an “open affront against the Muslim world and the Iranian nation”.

Blow for Trump as judge allows travellers with visas to stay in the US

A federal judge in Brooklyn, New York, issued an emergency stay on Saturday that temporarily blocks the US government from sending people out of the country after they have landed at a US airport with valid visas.

The American Civil Liberties Union estimates the stay will affect 100 to 200 people detained at US airports or in transit, but government lawyers could not confirm that number.

The ruling by Judge Ann Donnelly, of the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, came during a hearing called after President Donald Trump issued an executive order blocking people from seven Muslim-majority counties from entering the US and putting a temporary halt to refugee admissions.

Foreign governments (but not the UK) condemn refugee ban

“Welcoming refugees who flee war and oppression is part of our duty,” said  Jean-Marc Ayrault, the French foreign minister said, speaking at a joint news conference in Paris with  Sigmar Gabriel, his German counterpart.

“The United States is a country where Christian traditions have an important meaning. Loving your neighbour is a major Christian value and that includes helping people,” said Mr Gabriel.

Germany has taken in more than one million refugees and migrants, mainly from the Middle East, since 2015.

Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister, said Trump’s order would have negative consequences.

“The American president is dividing the Muslim world into good and evil with this,” Mr Asselborn told Germany’s Tagesspiegel newspaper. “The decision is also bad for Europe because it will increase the Muslim world’s mistrust and hatred of the West.”

Backlash from Democratic politicians and rights groups in the US

Many Democratic party members decried the ban as anti-American.

Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, said tears were “running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty” as a “grand tradition of America, welcoming immigrants, that has existed since America was founded has been stomped upon”.

Prominent rights groups decried the move and several filed motions to oppose it, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the International Refugee Assistance Project.

The United Nations’ refugee agency – UNHCR – and International Organization for Migration also called on the Trump administration to continue offering asylum to people fleeing war and persecution, saying its resettlement programme was vital.

Inconsistencies in the Trump administration’s claims

UK-based Telegraph Newspaper reporting the inconsistencies in the policy reported that in announcing his “extreme vetting” plan, Mr Trump invoked the Sept 11, 2001 attacks.  But the 19 plane hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon. None of these countries not included on the ban list.

*In an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network on Friday, Mr Trump said he would prioritise Christian refugees. He alleged that under his predecessor’s administration, “if you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible”.

*In fact, the United States accepts tens of thousands of Christian refugees. According to the Pew Research Center, almost as many Christian refugees (37,521) were admitted as Muslim refugees (38,901) in the 2016 fiscal year.

*Refugees fleeing Syria are singled out as “detrimental to the interests of the United States” and banned from entering the country indefinitely.

*Rights groups said that vetting procedures for Syrian refugees were already some of the most involved in the world and that it already took several years for anyone claiming asylum from the slaughter to be accepted.

“There is no evidence that refugees – the most thoroughly vetted of all people entering our nation – are a threat to national security,” said Lena Masri, the group’s director of National Litigation.

Banned from the Academy Awards

An Iranian film director nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Film category will be unable to attend this year’s ceremony in the wake of President Trump‘s ban.

Asghar Farhadi is nominated  for  The Salesman, which tells of a couple whose relationship is thrown into disarray after an intruder surprises her in the shower.

Meanwhile, Mohammed Al Rawi, a graduate of California State University and former journalist with the Los Angeles Times, said his father had been hauled off a flight in Qatar as a direct result of Mr Trump’s decision.

He wrote on Facebook hours after the order was signed:

Five Iraqi passengers and one Yemeni were barred from boarding an EgyptAir flight from Cairo to New York on Saturday.

The passengers, arriving in transit to Cairo airport, were stopped and re-directed to flights headed for their home countries despite holding valid visas, Reuters reported.

Some airlines have warned that all passengers whose journeys began in any of the seven countries may be affected, even if their own citizenship is not on the “banned” list.

Vera Mironova, a Russian citizen returning from an academic research trip to Iraq, said she had been warned at check- in that she may not be allowed into the US despite holding a green card.

“I just talked to Lufthansa guys and since an hour ago they need to inform all people travelling from Iraq about this possibility,” she said before boarding on Saturday afternoon.

Lawyers mount legal challenge to refugee ban

Donald Trump’s decision to close America’s borders to refugees was causing confusion and chaos at airports across the US, as people fleeing war zones were turned away by customs officials.

But the ban is now being met with several high-profile challenges from lawyers at civil rights organisations who say that the demands made in the executive order may be illegal.

The Immigration and Nationality Act, implemented by congress in 1965 banned all discrimination against immigrants on the basis of national origin.  President Lyndon B Johnson said as he signed the law that “the harsh injustice” of the national-origins quota system had been “abolished.”

The law states that  no person could be “discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth or place of residence.”

The detentions at airports around the US have prompted legal challenges.

The New York Times reported that lawyers representing two Iraqi refugees held at Kennedy Airport filed a writ of habeas corpus on Saturday in the Eastern District of New York seeking to have their clients released. At the same time, they filed a motion for class certification, in an effort to represent all refugees and immigrants who they said were being unlawfully detained at ports of entry.

One of the Iraqis, Khalid Darweesh, worked for the US government in Iraq for a decade. Whilst the other, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, was coming to the US to join his wife and young son, the lawyers said.

The attorneys said they were barred from meeting their clients. When they asked who they needed to talk to to remedy this, a Customs and Border Protection official told them to “call Mr Trump”.

One of the lawyers is from the Refugee Assistance Project. The group said in a statement that the executive order was “irresponsible and dangerous”.

The organisation said: “Denying thousands of the most persecuted refugees the chance to reach safety is an irresponsible and dangerous move that undermines American values and imperils our foreign relations and national security.

“IRAP works with hundreds of the most vulnerable refugees – children with medical emergencies, survivors of gender-based violence and torture, and Afghan and Iraqi allies to U.S. forces, to name a few – who will be left in immediate life-threatening danger.

“For many of them, resettlement in the United States is their only option to live safely and with dignity.”

Google recalls staff after Trump immigration ban

The order also sparked concern in the business world.

Google recalled all travelling staff members to the US following the order amid concern about the possible impact on recruiting top talent abroad.

A Google spokesperson said: “We’re concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the US.  We’ll continue to make our views on these issues known to leaders in Washington and elsewhere.”

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, wrote in a post on Saturday that he was “concerned” about the impact of the orders and that he would be working with Fwd.US, a charity he supports, to develop protections for child immigrants brought to the US at a young age by their parents.

The order signed by Mr Trump also imposes a 120-day suspension of the US refugee resettlement programme, regardless of applicants’ country of origin, while administration officials develop additional vetting procedures and decide which countries those procedures are “adequate” to ensure safety.

Syrian refugees are singled out as “detrimental to the interests of the United States” and banned from entering the country indefinitely.

The US may admit refugees on a case-by-case basis during the freeze and the government will continue to process requests from people claiming religious persecution “provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country.”

The order suspended a resettlement programme that allowed 85,000 people fleeing war, hunger, and political or religious persecution to be resettled in the US last year.

Paul Ryan, the republican speaker of the House, said it was “time to re-evaluate and strengthen the visa-vetting process.”

Many Democrats decried the move as “un-American”

“Tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty tonight as a grand tradition of America, welcoming immigrants, that has existed since America was founded has been stomped upon,” said Chuck Schumer, Senate minority leader.

Theresa May refuses to condemn US refugee ban

Theresa May refused to condemn Mr Trump’s decision when she appeared at a joint press conference with Binali Yıldırım, the prime minister of Turkey, following a meeting in Ankara.

Asked by Faisal Islam, the political editor of Sky News, whether she viewed it as an “action of the leader of the free world”, the Prime Minister replied that she had been “very pleased” to have met Mr Trump in Washington.

She proceeded to praise Britain’s record on refugees, but avoided commenting on US policy.

“The United States is responsible for the United States policy on refugees,” she said when pressed on the issue a second time.

Mr Yıldırım, commenting on the same issue, said UN members “cannot turn a blind eye to this issue and settle it by constructing walls”.

France, Germany and Luxembourg also voiced disquiet at the decision.

Jean-Marc Ayrault, the French Foreign Minister,  said many of Trump’s decisions worried the two US allies, including new immigration restrictions.

“This can only worry us, but there are many subjects that worry us,” Mr Ayrault said at a joint news conference in Paris with Sigmar Gabriel, his German counterpart.

“Welcoming refugees who flee war and oppression is part of our duty,” he added.

Mr Gabriel said: “The United States is a country where Christian traditions have an important meaning. Loving your neighbour is a major Christian value and that includes helping people.”

The United Nations’ refugee agency (UNHCR) and International Organization for Migration (IOM) called on Donald Trump’s administration 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 US resettlement programme 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.

The agencies hoped “that the US will continue its strong leadership role and long tradition of protecting those who are fleeing conflict and persecution”.

Some 25,000 refugees were resettled in the US between October and year-end under UNHCR’s programme for the most vulnerable, the agency said on Friday.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said it would file a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the executive order on Monday.

“There is no evidence that refugees – the most thoroughly vetted of all people entering our nation – are a threat to national security,” said Lena Masri, the group’s director of National Litigation.

Canada’s Justin Trudeau welcomes refugees

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has a message for refugees rejected by US President Donald Trump: Canada will take you.

He also intends to talk to Trump about the success of Canada’s refugee policy.

Mr Trudeau reacted to Trump’s ban of Muslims from certain countries by tweeting Saturday: “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength WelcomeToCanada.”

To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada

Mr Trudeau also posted a picture of him greeting a Syrian child at Toronto’s airport in late 2015. Trudeau oversaw the arrival of more than 39,000 Syrian refugees soon after he was elected.

A spokeswoman for the Canadian Prime Minister said Mr Trudeau has a message for Mr Trump.

“The Prime Minister is looking forward to discussing the successes of Canada’s immigration and refugee policy with the President when they next speak,” Kate Purchase told Associated Press.

Mr Trudeau is expected to the visit the White House soon.

The prime minister has refrained from criticising Mr Trump to avoid offending the new president. More than 75 per cent of Canada’s exports go to the US.

Green card holders will need additional screening – White House

The White House has rowed back from suggesting that green card holders from the countries affected by the ban will automatically be excluded.

US green card holders will require additional screening before they can return to the United States, the White House said on Saturday.

Earlier, a Department of Homeland Security official said people holding green cards, making them legal permanent US residents, were included in President Donald Trump’s executive action temporarily barring people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering America.

“It will bar green card holders,” Gillian Christensen, acting Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman, said in an email.

A senior White House official later sought to clarify the situation, saying green card holders who had left the United States and wanted to return would have to visit a US embassy or consulate to undergo additional screening.

“You will be allowed to re-enter the United States pending a routine rescreening,” the official said.


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