VIDEO: Following Trump’s executive order green card, visa holders already blocked by airports
Within hours of President Trump’s executive order limiting immigration from Muslim countries, green card and visa holders were already being blocked from getting on flights to the U.S.
The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee said people who had already landed were being sequestered at airports and told they have to return to their point of origin.
The Department of Homeland Security issued a directive at 4:30 p.m. ordering the Customs and Border Protection to enforce the executive order.
“For those already here, we won’t actually know until the flights back to these areas begin departing,” Abed Ayoub of the ADC said about the crisis.
“We’re hearing from a lot of people concerned about family members, friends, classmates. We’re hearing about a lot of folks asking ‘should I cancel my plans,’ and from folks who had to cancel events because of this.”
People who were still in the air as of 10:30 p.m. likely face being blocked at the airport when their planes land, he said.
“If they are already on the plane, they will not be able to enter,” he said.
“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.”
Trump’s order suspending visas and green cards said it covers nations of “particular concern.”
A draft version of the order covers at least seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The order stops entry of any refugees to the U.S. for four months, and says letting Syrian nationals in as refugees is “detrimental to the interests of the United States.”
The ADC took the drastic step of telling nationals from the affected countries not to leave the U.S.
“The Trump Administration is manipulating current immigration mechanisms to authorize mass blanket discrimination against entire populations based on national origin, religion and ethnicity,” the ADC said.
Customs officials said the number of people who arrived here and were turned back was not immediately available Friday night.
“It takes time to collect all the numbers,” a spokesman said.
“It will be a decision from the highest levels of The Department of Homeland Security to decide if and when the data may be available.”
Fahd Ahmed, of the Queens-based South Asian group Desis Rising Up and Moving, criticized the order.
“It is just outrageous in terms of putting a stop on migrants that are in the most need,” he said. “All the references to safety and national security aren’t based on any evidence.”
The current administration doesn’t care about the facts,” he added. “This is about fear-mongering. When we have seen this happening in other contexts in other country, the outcome has been dark periods in human history.”
Ahmed said he sees the move as a bellwether of worse things to come.